Anthony Braxton (again)

I’m only now beginning to appreciate the music & musicianship of Anthony Braxton. I have listened to him in the past, I have seen him perform live a few times, but his music never “arrived”, so to say, in my heart nor head. Yes, I loved him on Dave Hollands Conference of the Birds, I have a record with Ray Anderson, John Lindbergh and Thurman Barker from I think 1979 or 1984, I pushed record on the taperecorder whenever some Braxton would come on the radio. But when I was frantically discovering all the jazz, going from Parker to Dolphy to Coltrane and Ornette, and then on to David Murray, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Henry Threadgill — I somehow skipped Braxton. I knew that he was considered a major voice and For Alto sort of a defining moment of seventies jazz/impro. I knew that I should try to get hold of his work with Barry Altschull. But his tone seemed so thin, he looked so rationally, unpassionately professorlike, that I never did.

But now look at his 1980 performance of Coltrane’s Impressions — at Youtube:

My discovery of Braxton is triggered partly by the discussion on 1970s jazz that travelled through various music-blogs last week — after Dave Douglas asked if someone could come up with a list of what is most worthwile from that era of jazz. See a.o. the wonderful & A difficult era — if you ask me –. Jazz lost it’s place in the hierarchy of music to rock, and after freejazz there seemed to to be no way ‘onwards’. Looking back in retrospect at the legacy of seventies jazz — even if one leaves out the European free improv-scene and some spaced-out jazzrock — this seems unbelievable: so many great new sounds evolved. I tried to make my list: Henry Threadgill (hardly mentioned, strangely), Lawrence Butch Morris (his conductions are, well, awesome — they move me deeply), Anthony Braxton, David Murray, Richard Muhal Abrams, John Carter, Gerry Hemingway (also hardly ever mentioned — his early trio with Ray Anderson & Mark Helias is wonderful), Roscoe Mitchell, George Lewis… And that’s just a few of the persons who came up with new conceptions, mixtures and radical sounds. See, I don’t even mention New York downtown scene (some of the best Zorn-stuff is late seventies).

blogging,en,music | September 18, 2006 | 22:26 | Comments Off on Anthony Braxton (again) |


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