16 May 2008

Anthony Braxton Septet - Composition 356 - Chiasso, January 2008

(Thanks to sambeck2001 for confirming that this is composition 356).

This is from the Chiasso festival in January this year and I recorded it from RTSI's broadcast last weekend. There are many similarities with much of the Iridium set, but there is also extensive use of electronics and 'noise' which marks this piece as something different. Jessica Pavone's violin plays an important role in shaping this music, which seems to include a cycle from waking to sleeping through to waking again.

I would be very interested in reading your reaction to this music. For my part, I find this music - unlike some earlier Braxton - begins to hint at some archetypes which affect us all. Perhaps, to use his words, it enters an upper partial. This is not music which is simply beautifully crafted and virtuosic; a key part of it is its impact on and transformation of our imagination and consciousness.

Anthony Braxton Septet
Algebra delle emozioni
Chiasso, Spazio Officina, Saturday 26th January, 2008

Anthony Braxton (sax contralto, sopranino, clarinetto contrabbbasso)
Taylor Ho Bynum (cornetta, flicorno e trumpbone)
Jessica Pavone (violino e viola)
Mary Halvorson (chitarra elettrica)
Jay Rozen (tuba)
Chris Dahlgren (ccontrabbasso)
Aaron Siegel (percussioni e vibrafono)

01 Composition 356 (64.46)
02 Radio voiceover (1.50)

EDIT - the text file included the download has two errors: (i) the composition number is 356, not 364, and (ii) the place of the concert is Spazio Officina, Chiasso, not Stati Uniti (!). Mi dispiace.


Tantris said...



I don't have time to do an mp3, so perhaps someone else could do that and post it here?

Have a great weekend.

folly for to see what said...

Hey, This is great!
I recorded the same concert, but due my problems with router I lost one minute in the middle. I was very sad about that. And now you post it! Yes!
And I think it's true at least to me this concert is different from the Braxton I know. But I really like it.

Only one doubt, I'm spanish and I think radio presenter talks about Composition 356.

Thanks Tantris!

pgw said...

thanks also for a great picture of jessica pavone

Jason Guthartz said...

look here for some great photos from this performance

sambeck2001 said...

Thank You, Tantris

this is a nightmare for every collector's soul: Another hour of Mr. B. on my hard disk. No space, no time to listen.

But his is worth a second time to listen. I did compress to mp3@vbr for my personal convenience when travelling by train.

folly for to see what,
you're right: it is comp. 356. i understand Italian a bit. ;-) [trecento cinquanta sei]
(if in doubt, cf. the Iridium set)



for the credits: on the pictures jason guthartz was pointing to, i could identify alto, soprano and sopranino saxes and contrabass clarinet. Didn't Mr. B. play the soprano, or has it been the announcer, who forgot it?
Taylor Ho Bynum is playing cornet, flugelhorn and trumpet (in Italian: tromba). I don't think, he really plays trombone, too.

Have fun

Tantris said...

Thanks, Jason for the photos, and also to sambeck2001 for the confirmation of the composition number - when I compare this to the 356 in the Iridum set, the opening phrases are very similar, but this one rapidly goes down a different road.

centrifuge said...

hey, another one :) damn, can't doze off for a minute round here... thanks tantris! glad all the details got sorted out before i arrived ;-)

i'll see about sorting out an mp3 this time... meantime there's no question of not finding time for this! mrs c is away for the night, i'm about to break open the beer and i'm downloading (part of) my evening listening right now {ta-dah}

centrifuge said...

oops, i didn't read that carefully enough (sambeck!) - didn't realise you'd actually done mp3s already, that saves me doing it...

tantris, trust me, even the older stuff has the power to alter consciousness ;-) but i agree, that is really a very important aspect of gtm in particular and the later musics in general... the longer he works at this stuff, the more layers and levels are operating at once.

the question is: is this definitely comp. 356? yes, i agree that's what the italian announcer says... but where did the suggestion come from that this is comp. 364? because to me it would make more sense it if were... comp. 360 was played in 2006, comp. 361 was premiered at moers last year - why would he now be returning to a piece already crystallised on the iridium set? (i still haven't got that box yet, so if people are satisfied that this really the same piece as disc seven in the box, then fair enough i guess)

last night didn't quite go according to plan, overdid the alcohol slightly and passed out before the end of the piece {ahem}... actually it's a tribute to the amazing music/sounds that i lasted as long as i did, i kept dozing off then waking up five secs later cos something wonderful had just happened... so anyway, now it's getting a proper airing, filling my heart and my ears and challenging my mind {{*{@@@}*}}

couple of points: jay rozen is often known to use electronics in these small groups, chris dahlgren and aaron siegel both use effects sometimes too; and THB uses what he calls a "trumpbone", effectively a trumpet of sorts with a slide attached so that it resembles a small trombone more than anything else (he played it at the RFH in 2004).

jason, thanks for the link to the pics :)

nice one guys... tantris, do please keep em coming, you know that there's an appreciative audience out there!

Tantris said...

- c -

My Italian doesn't do far beyond Alfa Romeo or Nessun Dorma, so the idea that it might have been 364 came from me - partly because it would make more sense if it were. This version is also quite different to the one in the Iridium set.

Much as I enjoy (parts of) earlier Braxton, I think there has been a step change in the last decade or so where his music is much more interesting. If you haven't yet heard it, I would strongly recommend the recent release 'Quartet (GTM) 2006 on Important Records, which I think reaches parts even Iridium doesn't reach.

You know, the alcohol probably contributed to your experience of this music, as much of it (imho) occupies that space somewhere between waking and dreaming.

What do others think of this piece - there have been over 50 downloads since it was posted, so it may have been listened to a few times by now.

- t -

kinabalu said...

I picked this item off Dime, but I haven't got around to listening to it yet. Mentally, I guess I'm still in the seventies Braxton mode. That's what I keep listening to (and purchasing, as I find them online). Speaking of which, I found a Moers 1976 live performance on Dime, featuring B with Kenny Wheeler, George Lewis, Harry Miller and Tony Oxley. Wowee!!! Tantris, care to put it up or should I do it?

Tantris said...

Hi kinabulu - if you do the Moers 76, I could do one of the others - the duo with Richard Teitelbaum from 85, perhaps.

I meant to say earlier that by coincidence I listened to AEC's Eda Wobu (from your post here) right after listening to this version of 356, and felt that there were some marked similarities; even if this is just wishful thinking on my part, Eda Wobu is still an amazing recording for 1969. In fact, you also drew a parallel between it and the 2000 Smith, Jarman, Mitchell concert also posted here.

kinabalu said...

Fine, I'll attend to the Moers 76.

centrifuge said...

"in the last decade or so... his music is much more interesting"

t, it makes such a nice change to read this (as opposed to the reverse) that i shan't make any effort to argue right now :)

gtm rools ok... i'm picking my way through it little by little, not even attempting to compare pieces much (etc)... i have got quite a lot of it already, more to come of course! but yes, i bought the new quartet box recently, was gonna mention it on IYKWIS this week oddly enough... it sounds great but i haven't made any effort to take it in fully yet.

the iridium set will be a birthday present to myself this summer :-D

centrifuge said...

guys, very curious now to hear that all-star quintet from '76! i look forward to it... also to the synth duo, there was one from nickelsdorf '84 in circulation (from h&h?)

i forgot all about eda wobu... just rectified that, but no headspace left to listen to it... the amount of music i squeezed in today was prodigious... made up for last night's poor show ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Dudes

thank you very much for sharing this brand new concert on Braxton!

Your site is amazing, no doubt.

Check this out:

John Coltrane, Live in Japan
@192 / complete / 4 cds

best regards, Kike :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the inappropiate forum but ...

RIP Walt Dickerson, May 15.

A beautiful vibes player. May he rest in peace. He was unique.

sambeck2001 said...

ok, I have been a little prosumptuous. I should have listenen first - before commenting.

so a trumphone is a real instrument, i didn't know that. I listened to half of the recording now, and I do really hear something like a trombone there, but a little different in tone ... (is this the same instrument steven bernstein is playing? i saw him recently on tv from the salzau festival.But that seems to be more trumpet-like.)

I'm not that familiar with b.s actual work. But here I hear much more of blending improvised and composed parts into another than in former times. (Actually i'm listining along with cent's IYKWIS-blog) Soloing seems less important, there is more interest in melting sounds, i supppose. And i do hear long time collaborators having rehearsed very hard and serously.

Is it comp. 356? I think it is. the first phrase, of course. Maybe our man uses other compositions, or parts of them, loose phrases and patterns for accompanying or leading over to new areas. At one point they are playing a short phrase, i couldn't identify exactly, but it seemed to be from some 70s compositon.

and now for something different: kinabalu, you announced a Moers live performance from 1976. I'm very curious about that. But the personnel seems unbelievable to me. I downloaded a document from http://www.moers-festival.de/2008/archiv.html recently: the complete programmes from 1972 up to the present. The reading of it ended in some confusion.
We have there a solo in 1974, the wheeler/Holland/Altschul quartet in 1975 (!) and 1976, a duo with Leo Smith (but not with George Lewis!) in 1976, a quintet w/ Abrams and Lewis and the AB Jarman Mitchell Trio in 1977. In 1978 the creative Music Orchestra and the quartet w/ Ray Anderson are listed.
i don't see Tony Oxley anywhere, and Harry Miller only as member of Brotherhood of Breath.
But imho this document is edited in a untidy way, so you can't depend on it in every detail. Maybe they edited only the advertised and not the real happening progammes. Further details needed

Anonymous said...

Hi all and thanks for this concert! I'm Italian and I would confirm that the number of the composition is 356 and the instrument is a trombone.
All the best,

Lone Wolf

Slothrop said...


Many thanks for this. I'm really floored by this general ensemble (whatever the specific permutation) and love this series of compositions. I think there's a lot to be said for all these players, including Aaron Siegel, who, while not a virtuouso, has developed a clunky, toms-heavy style that's absolutely right for what these pieces do. One of the great wonders of AB is that he's so well documented -- any and every single recording like this is an asset.

And -- for what, maybe the tenth time? -- I'd like to communicate to Cent that he's going to like his birthday gift just fine. The Iridium stuff is stupendous and after a lot of listens, I'm nowhere close to getting to the bottom of it.

As for this remarkable Moers set -- hazzah! Advance thanks to whomever produces it. Miracle workers around here.

Anonymous said...

Thanks in advance (haven't downloaded this yet).

The Braxton habit I'm re-developing thanks to you guys at the moment is going to cost me a fortune, I think (Iridium/the forthcoming Mosaic/...), but it has to be done. And to think I didn't get the early GTM stuff at all.

kinabalu said...


I checked the Moers web site and you're right; there's no mention of this concert there. I don't have an independent source to verify that this is indeed Moers 76. What does seem certain, however, is that the five musicians mentioned are the five playing.

centrifuge said...

kinabalu - really intrigued now! (though of course first i have to finish downloading wallofsound's latest offering c/o dale...) i haven't looked at that moers document myself, but from what sambeck says, it's pretty unreliable - the quartet played in '74, not '75 (? well - i suppose they MAY have played in '75 as well, but definitely in '74!!), the '76 duo was with lewis not leo smith (this is the current post on IYKWIS - an album you yourself posted here recently, and we know it was definitely at moers because they themselves released it..!) - etc etc. still, of course it would be nice to get some authentication.

sambeck, i believe steven bernstein plays what he calls a slide trumpet... what the difference is between that and THB's "trumpbone", who knows...

slothrop, believe me, it's not doubts over the quality of the music which have made me hold off buying it thus far... it was only ever a question of when :)

centrifuge said...

oh yes... and it does seem appropriate to mark walt dickerson's passing in some way. does anything have anything suitable?

lc said...

congratulations and thank you so much for this latest musical offering.
this message coming from a poor bugger who hasn't attended any live music event in ages.
as for the latest Braxton releases, even if there may be better suited forums, may I insist on the quality of the 4cd set featuring the Anthony Braxton/Joe Morris duo.
I also have the Iridium set ('never got to watch the DVD by the way...), but I really tend to prefer the sharpness of the "dialogue" set in the "clean feed" release.
I was wondering whether they had already performed live as a duo...

Tantris said...

Here are some photos of the concert that might be of interest;


Wally said...


Wally said...

I know i'm very much a tail-ender her, but only just came across this. Absolutely magic. I'm a Braxton fan but for some reason this seems to have a special something. Love Mary's contribution.
Thanks Tantris and whoever posted the mp3. My old ears can't tell the difference and mp3 helps with the download limit.

Mary said...

Hello, How do I get in touch with you? There is no email or contact info listed .. please advise .. thanks .. Mary. Please contact me maryregency at gmail dot com