ANTHONY BRAXTON

19 [Solo] Compositions, 1988

(New Albion) Used CD $8.00

Sixteen originals recorded live plus “You Go To My Head,” “Round Midnight,” and “Half Nelson.” Although free in spots, Braxton’s performances also have their own logic and are quite concise.

ANTHONY BRAXTON

Composition N. 165 [For 18 Instruments]

(New Albion) Used CD $8.00

Performed by the University of Illinois Creative Music Orchestra, conducted by Anthony Braxton in 1992, who describes it thus: “There are static and mutable cloud formations that drift in and out of the canvas of the music…, yet there are target recognition states. This is a sequential event continuum that places equal emphasis on sound and space — the moments come ... the moments go.”

ANTHONY BRAXTON

Composition N. 169 + (186 + 206 divided by 214)

(Leo) Used 2xCD $15.00

A string orchestra plus four saxophonists tackle this gloriously sprawling concerto. “There is a static quality to much of the piece,” notes All Music Guide, “Characterized by pulsating, thrusting strings. The timbre of the strings actually softens the blows, making this more listenable than some of the composer’s other assemblages…. [T]he fine work of the Slovenia Radio Orchestra, coupled with excellent soloing from Braxton and his saxophonist colleagues, gives this a serious, if somewhat difficult demeanor. There are the usual flashes of brilliance, the complex rhythmic patterns, and the repeating quarter tones…. [T]his is a substantial work … [of] considerable depth and originality.” From 2001

ANTHONY BRAXTON

Composition N. 247

(Leo) Used CD $10.00

“A trio outing featuring saxophonist / clarinetist James Fei and bagpipe performer Matthew Welch,” notes All About Jazz. This “unlikely instrumentation mix” places “this extended composition … within [Braxton’s] Ghost Trance Music series, which he describes as a ‘melody that doesn’t end’.” From 2001

ANTHONY BRAXTON

Knitting Factory (Piano / Quartet) 1994, Vol. 2

(Leo) Used 2xCD $9.00

The never-less-than-impressive Braxton “moves from swing to cool to bebop and back, all the while never letting go of his love for free jazz,” notes All Music Guide, essentially putting “every jazz influence that came his way during his musical upbringing in the boiler and distilling a powerful ersatz. The quartet’s renditions can be very faithful at times, very mainstream. These moments are propelled by Marty Erlich’s soulful saxophone … and Joe Fonda’s bass…. Then again, [Braxton’s] subversive language is never quiet for very long. Every tune moves in and out of focus…. A powerful jazz lesson from a master.”

ANTHONY BRAXTON

Ninetet (Yoshi’s) 1997 – Compostion N. 207 / Compostion N. 208 Vol 1

(Leo) Used 2xCD $17.00

“Pounding pulses devoid of melody, a somewhat limited tonal palette, and lots of repeating phrases … add to the complexity and the opaqueness” of this live recording, notes All Music Guide. “Appreciating the theoretical underpinnings of the compositions … make it more approachable, and the glorious improvisations by Braxton and his colleagues mitigate the harshness of the whole…. [T]he solos and trio breakouts are nothing less than splendid…. [T]hese two performances are among his best for a small group.”

ANTHONY BRAXTON

Solo (Koln) 1978

(Leo) Used CD $12.00

“Performing solely on alto sax, there is a searing lyricism and a surprisingly jazz-oriented underpinning to even the most abstract of Braxton’s improvisations,” according to All Music Guide. Released twenty-four years after they were recorded, the tracks here show “him in an energetic mood, and should satisfy those who appreciate his more radical side within the ‘mainstream’ of the jazz avant-garde. He barks, screeches (though only occasionally and in characteristically good taste), and shows some outstanding technical skills, including incredible speed. While he has recorded some of these compositions elsewhere…, Braxton is in peak form on this one and the results are uniformly excellent.”