Anthony Braxton’s 12+1tet


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A couple of weeks ago I found myself in the massive Amoeba Records in San Fransisco and picked up lots of good stuff. So far the highlight has been Anthony Braxton’s latest release: 12+1tet. A review from The Squid’s Ear just about says it all:

On his second live disc with this group of musicians, composer and reeds master Anthony Braxton, one of the pillars of the art of free jazz, performs his ebullient epic composition No. 361, a 70 minute tour de force that packs so much of a punch that the time just seems to fly by.

Braxton fans are treated to a mature work that is a summation, in a way, of most of Braxton’s musical concerns: the play between form and free improv, the mixing of timbres, the exploration of pulse fluctuations, the variations of density and the personality that each instrument and each instrumentalist brings to the aforementioned. For new listeners, this is as good a place to start as any, perhaps better, since this is the work of a musical mind at the height of his powers, who arrives with decades of musical exploration behind him, but who has still lots of creative juice. A doyen of the jazz tradition (even though some of his critics have placed him outside of jazz and Braxton himself avoids the label) the composer is joined by 12 people who understand and share his musical vision and who are, for the most part, long-time collaborators, resulting in, as the liner notes put it, “an amalgamation of musicians fully stepped in his oeuvre.”

Read the full review at The Squid’s Ear.

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Charles Gayle: Touchin’ on Trane


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Charles Gayle has a newly available now more affordable (re)release on the Jazzwerkstatt label–Touchin’ On Trane–with the always fine William Parker (double bass) and the great Rashied Ali (drums). Here’s the description from the label:

This is Charles Gayle’s most accessible work. Gayle’s mastery of free jazz is blended with a more traditional compositional style of jazz on this disc. Touchin’ on Trane is composed of five original songs, and even includes ex-Coltrane drummer Rashied Ali. As the title insists, Coltrane is the influence for the music on this disc. The influence ranges from the upbeat tempo of “Giant Steps” in “Part A,” while “Part D” is reminiscent of Coltrane’s “Live in Japan” performances. Gayle, bassist William Parker, and Ali don’t copy Coltrane, but rather expand on his accomplishments. Without covering any songs, Touchin’ on Trane is the greatest John Coltrane tribute album.

Jazzwerkstatt has a number of free downloads and some excellent podcasts here. In other exciting news, Anthony Braxton’s latest release 12+1tet looks good, for info and samples, see here. Finally, if you were like me and couldn’t make it to a local screening of the limited release documentary My Name is Albert Ayler, it will be available to purchase soon here.  For more Charles Gayle, here’s a clip from a performance last year featuring Gayle with Hilliard Green and Klaus Kugel: Continue reading