Anthony Braxton Sextet: (Victoriaville) 2005. 2005. Victo: cd 098.
Anthony Braxton: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, f soprano saxophone
Taylor Ho Bynum: trumpet
Jay Rozen: tuba
Jessica Pavone: violin
Chris Dahlgren: double bass
Aaron Siegel: drums, percussion, vibraphone
The creative direction and influence upon this sound is unmistakeably Braxton's as this Sextet of improvisers interprets Composition No. 345. And yet it remains a platform for hearing multiple angles from each of these players over this hour long experience. The lines of communication and interaction between players is taut as it crackles with a reserved, collaborative energy. Braxton's own saxophone lines drive home just how much of a master he is at the art of improvised music. The structural underpinnings that make this long form experience possible is also yet another testament to the systems and integrity of Braxton's deeply thought out approach to this music. One can hear these individuals listening just as much as one can hear them performing faithfully within the parameters of Braxton's vision. Beyond the considerable layers of intellect running throughout this music there is also the sonic beauty of it. Which is perhaps the strongest argument of all. An impressive slab from the prolific artistry of Anthony Braxton.
Ellery Eskelin: Vanishing Point. 2001. Hat Hut Records: hatOLOGY 577.
Ellery Eskelin: tenor saxophone
Mat Maneri: violin
Erik Friedlander: cello
Mark Dresser: bass
Matt Moran: vibraphone
This disc bolts into the air with one of Eskelin's signature tenor saxophone lines. And before long the string section and vibraphone are not far behind him as the individuals of this quintet weave around and respond to Eskelin's playing. Eventually a collective sound emerges that is more collective than individually driven. Unlike the Braxton Sextet - which is undeniably Braxton at every aesthetic turn - this one is a playground of five musicians of equal creative stature. The timbral combination of strings, vibraphone and tenor saxophone is incredibly pleasant. The extended techniques emanating from the string section offering a sharp contrast to the notion of "strings" as a lush backdrop for saxophone solo. The degree of attention at work behind the spontaneity of this sound is deceptive. This is music that finds a form through collective memory that is impressive to hear.
Ornette Coleman: Sound Grammar. 2006. Sound Grammar: SG 11593.
Ornette Coleman: saxophones, violin, trumpet
Denardo Coleman: drums, percussion
Gregory Cohen: bass
Tony Falanga: bass
A representative sampling of the current Ornette Coleman quartet at this late point in his career. By now the Ornette songbook is overflowing with compositions and the practice of harmolodics is a refined (if still not widely understood) philosophy and improvisational approach. Coleman's voice on saxophone is as strong and personal as it ever was. There's a feeling of effortlessness now with a sound that took a lifetime of struggle to forge. The two-bass quartet manages to find a sonic territory that encompasses the full breadth of Ornette's journey into a sound that is at once joy and a recapitulation of an impressive life in music. A worthy addition to any jazz collection.