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Music, Reviewed Anthony Braxton

Anthony Braxton

Saxophonist/composer Anthony Braxton's reputation as one of jazz's most intellectually rigorous avant-gardists was well established by 1974, but Arista signed him anyway. He recorded nine albums for the label; two more titles, licensed from the Freedom imprint at the time,…
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Music, War on Wusses

War on Wusses

Battles' new record, Mirrored, is unlike any other album you're likely to hear this year, or maybe any year. Something of an indie supergroup, the New York quartet comprises Ian Williams (Don Caballero, Storm and Stress), Dave Konopka (Lynx), John…
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Calendar, Night&Day The Brink of Understanding

The Brink of Understanding

Sometimes when I hear -- OK, each and every time I hear the word "experimental" followed by "music," I get sad, and my mind conjures up scenarios of pretentious musicologists playing something I cannot comprehend; I promptly want to fall…
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Music, The Battle of the Bullshit

The Battle of the Bullshit

For the past hour or so, drummer John Stanier has been feeding me with info on his new group, Battles. But at this stage in the phone call my recorder is already stuffed with more than enough raw quotage for…
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Music, Reviewed Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck

Though dissed by jazz's critical establishment for the unforgivable crime of popularity, pianist/composer Dave Brubeck's Quartet remains one of the pivotal bands in the music's history. The DBQ is the most famous and successful exponent of one of the most…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

Despite more than a century of activism for gender equality, master musicians of the "fair sex" continue to be ghettoized. Even in jazz, arguably the most egalitarian of genres, female players tend to get props en masse rather than as…
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Music, Hear This The Scott Rosenberg Skronktet

The Scott Rosenberg Skronktet

On a night about five years ago at the now-defunct Radio Valencia, multireed instrumentalist Scott Rosenberg offered a show intent on disrupting audience expectations. Snaking across the floor and crawling beneath tables, Rosenberg knocked over bottles and cans and generally…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

In the past decade, violin and accordion have arguably become the subtlest vehicles for creative music innovation. Well aware of the power of this unlikely pair of avant-garde instruments, ubiquitous New York trumpeter Dave Douglas enlisted top downtown practitioners Mark…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

Rovaté III with Gerry HemingwayGerry Hemingway first came to the attention of creative improv fans as a member of the Anthony Braxton Quartet on his 1985 tour, and he's played off and on with Braxton ever since. His sparse, crisp…
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Music,

Hear This

Anthony Braxton's Ghost Trance Festival Braxton never thinks small. He realized long ago that if music ("jazz") is to retain its vitality and forward motion, it must be subjected to investigations of the ambitious kind. Arguably the most controversial character…
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Music,

Hear This

Sam Rivers' Living Legend Tribute Jazz in Flight has dedicated the last two nights of its Eddie Moore Jazz Festival to Sam Rivers for being a living legend, whatever that means. For more than 30 years, his music has helped…
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Music,

Hear This

Max Roach/Leon Parker Max Roach knows that the beat is the backbone of jazz. For half a century, along with fellow bop godfathers Art Blakey and Roy Haynes, his rhythmic energy has propelled some of the genre's greatest names: Charlie…
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Music,

Hear This

Phillip Greenlief/Scott Amendola duo Attempting sax-traps duets in the improv/jazz arena puts reedist Phillip Greenlief and drummer Scott Amendola (Charlie Hunter Quartet, T.J. Kirk) up against formidable tag-team partners like Anthony Braxton and Max Roach, Peter Brstzmann and Hamid Drake,…
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Music,

The Essence of Jazz

"The DNA of jazz," declares Henry Threadgill, "is a conglomerate of everything." The internationally recognized composer/bandleader/multi-instrumentalist explains, "I knew when I first listened to Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, I could tell they were listening to a whole lot of different…
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Music,

Harmonic Convergences

"If I hear a jazz group," confesses Peter Apfelbaum, "I get the impulse to run up to the stage and say, 'Listen, you don't have to do that anymore. There's been all these other discoveries. Haven't you heard?' " The…
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