Thursday, November 27, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Railin'

Anthony Braxton 12+1tet: 9 Compositions (Iridium) 2006 - disc 2. Firehouse 12 Records: FH12-04-03-001.

Recorded live: March 16, 2006 at Iridium Jazz Club, New York City.

The Anthony Braxton 12+1tet
Anthony Braxton: composer, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, sopranino saxophone, clarinet and Eb contalto clarinet
Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet, flugelhorn, trumpbone, piccolo trumpet, bass trumpet, shell
Andrew Raffo Dewar: soprano saxophone, c-melody saxophone, clarinet
James Fei: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
Mary Halvorson: electric guitar
Stephen H. Lehman: alto saxophone, sopranino saxophone
Nicole Mitchell: flute, alto flute, bass flute, piccolo, voice
Jessica Pavone: viola, violin
Reut Regev: trombone, flugelbone
Jay Rozen: tuba, euphonium
Sara Schoenbeck: bassoon, suona
Aaron Siegel: percussion, vibraphone
Carl Testa: acoustic bass, bass clarinet

Disc 2 = Composition 351 - dedicated to the composer/scholar Harvey Sollberger
The ghost trance music of Anthony Braxton is a compelling slice of the modular body of works that makes up the Baxton catalogue. The overall duration of these pieces - at approximately an hour each in this box set - in conjunction with the collectivist sound of the ensemble achieved through improvisative means pulls at a sense of ritual through a number of approaches toward linear and pulse logics. A textural wash along an ambitious canvas with endless threads of detail woven in from these individual players. A cerebral swing with meditative intent. These ears dig it and offer up a respectful nod to the staggering ideas Braxton has set into motion through sound.

Ludwig van Beethoven: The Symphonies [disc 1]. Recorded in 1994. The International Music Company: 205297-305.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Symphony No. 1 in C Major (op. 21)

Barry Wordsworth: conductor

Symphony No. 2 in D Major (op. 36)
James Lockhart: conductor

As far as historical referential points go, the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven are about as dense a gravitational center one can expect to find. It is possible to effect a renewal with any work of art. But this is more so with the highly fetish-like works from this canon. There is a reason so many ears ret
urn to these familiar works - and it's more than the familiarity at work. Starting my own "renewal" with the first two symphonies marks a return to the Hayden-esque roots of Beethoven. The churning, classical sound with a larger sense of polished momentum lurking underneath. The harmonic turns that rattle the chains - but don't actually break them the way later works would.

Marty Ehrlich: News on the Rail. 2005. Palmetto Records: PM 2113.

Marty Ehrlich: alto saxophone, clarinet
James Zollar: trumpet, flugelhorn
Howard Johnson: tuba, baritone saxophone, bass clarinet
James Weidman: piano, melodica
Greg Cohen: bass
Allison Miller: drums

The fact that this six-piece ensemble sounds so much larger - treading often into big band textures - speaks to the versatility of Ehrlich's writing for ensemble. The salient echoes of Andrew Hill, among other influences, courses through this jazz-rich sound. The versatility of materials also speaks volumes about the quality of composition as well as the outstanding collection of improvising players assembled for this recording. One would be hard pressed to find a Marty Ehrlich project that was less than stellar, and this one offers many layers of deeply thought, felt and played ideas. Layers that call for repeated listening.

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