Album Review

Braxton, Anthony – “Quartet (GTM) 2006 ” – [Important Records]

Max Level   11/3/2008   CD, Jazz

Elegant musical conversations featuring reeds, piano, bass, percussion, and various combinations thereof… four gigantic performances (47 to 62 minutes each) that pretty much defy description other than to say composition and improvisation are co-existing and enhancing one another. Is it jazz? Well, not really, but it???s as much that as anything else I suppose. The formula: each piece seems to have a theme ???a typically convoluted Braxton-type theme??? staking out its musical territory, and when the musicians aren???t playing the theme, the composer turns them loose to improvise; a jazz formula, but because this is Braxton the written scores for the pieces use that arcane symbol system of his, which puts them on a whole other plane intellectually. The instrumental interplay among the members of the quartet is often dazzling, and I admire the way the musicians are able to keep bringing fresh, inspired playing throughout such hugely extended pieces. The pity is that there won???t be many opportunities to play one of these huge pieces in its entirety for listeners, even on the crazy airwaves of KFJC.

you heard it 16 times on kfjc! most recently:
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