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2 + 2 Compositions

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Album Review

Recorded at Wesleyan University with three of his pupils (who also work together as a trio under the name Memorize the Sky), Anthony Braxton's 2 + 2 Compositions offers yet another example of how easily the master can adapt to and engage with new musical forms — and younger, up-and-coming players. Matt Bauder (tenor sax and clarinet), Zach Wallace (double bass), and Aaron Siegel (percussion) are quiet players, favoring texture over density, as Bauder's two contributions to this set clearly exemplify. "Scaffolding" is a simple set of rules stating how to play (staccato/continuous) and when to play, while "Dots" is a field of sparsely scattered dots for the musicians to lose themselves in. Braxton eases in easily, restraining his playing and yet unfolding characteristic grace. The quartet coalesces wonderfully as a unit in "Dots," multiplying parallel dialogues (F sax/tenor sax, bass/tenor sax, drums/bass/F sax). Braxton's two compositions, "No. 324b" and "No. 327c," follow similar aesthetic ideas, although they call for more volume and a certain level of angst (especially early in "327c"). Both pieces belong to his Falling River Musics series, which some listeners may perceive as the complete antithesis to the Ghost Trance Music series. GTM relied on a steady pulse, dizzying triplets, and guerilla runs through parallel pieces. FRMs eschew any kind of beat and take a much more abstract form, consisting of clouds of sound events whose apparent randomness is eventually dispelled by an overruling sense of purpose. And in that regard, the short "327c" accomplishes more within its seven brilliant minutes than "324b" in three times that duration. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Born: 04 June 1945 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Genius is a rare commodity in any art form, but at the end of the 20th century it seemed all but non-existent in jazz, a music that had ceased looking ahead and begun swallowing its tail. If it seemed like the music had run out of ideas, it might be because Anthony Braxton covered just about every conceivable area of creativity during the course of his extraordinary career. The multi-reedist/composer might very well be jazz's last bona fide genius. Braxton began with jazz's essential rhythmic and...
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