Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
2 Compositions (Jarvenpaa) 1988, Ensemble Braxtonia
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Intricate Structures; Wild Blowing
Christopher Forbes | Brooklyn,, NY | 08/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anthony Braxton may have his pulse on the future of music. He is unbelievably prolific, with music for a wide variety of ensembles, ranging from sponteneous blowing sessions to highly abstract, completely notated pieces for traditionally "classical" ensembles. And through it all, his music retains a sense of individuality in each medium, and remains fresh after over 30 years in the buisness. This recording is for a midsize group featuring Braxton and Finnish musicians. Instruments include four reedists (two based on tenor and two based on alto but all playing a variety of instruments) trombone, violin, bass (doubling cello) and percussion. The disc was recorded live in 1988 in Finland. Two of Braxton's numbered compositions are played, No. 144 and 145. What impresses most about Braxton's group work is the seamless transitions between notated sections, controlled improvisation and all and out blowing. Braxton takes many attitudes toward the balance of improvisation and structure: in some sections the music is fairly strictly notated. Inh some sections, texture is chosen, and material is presented to the players with a fair amount of freedom. Some themes resemble frenetic "bop" heads, but are played with heterophonic decorations by the players. In some sections there is evidence of harmonic planning, or scale choices, and there is a really wild collective blowing section toward the end of the disc that leaves you breathless. It is a wonderful performance. And yet with all of this, the pieces do not sound like the traditional "suite" structure of many free jazz extended compositions (think Meditation) and it doesn't have a "head-solo" feel as many other pieces of the avant-gard can. It feels tight, like all of the pieces belong together structurally and the sections are related motivically. In other words, this piece can be judged with the same standards as work by the European avant-garde composers. Braxton should have greater recognition in this country, both from the jazz and the classical establishment. His music is a great bridge between jazz and the avant-garde classical tradition. He is more cerebral than the average free player, and yet more emotional than the serialists. And he shows how to both loose control and retain control, how to balance freedom and structure, and to create stimulating and beautiful music at the same time."