Since he released the completely solo For Alto in 1968, the accepted image of Anthony Braxton has been that he is more a theoretician and art music composer than a jazz musician. Therefore, it might seem strange that Mosaic Records is giving his Complete Arista Recordings one of their fabled box set treatments. But Braxton is both – and much more. This set – as well as the original Arista recordings – were produced by Michael Cuscuna, Mosaic/Blue Note label head. The sheer scope of these recordings is staggering. What we get in this amazingly detailed collection is the weightiest argument yet for Braxton's range and depth of field as a musical thinker and his role as a pillar of modern jazz.
This one is a real treat: two giants of improvisation in pursuit of that enigmatic 'something' on a Canadian stage in 1986. Braxton, clearly derived from the jazz tradition; Bailey, restless occupant of a self-constructed world of non-idiomatic guitar. "Moment Precieux" was an instant improv classic upon its release twelve years ago and is a welcome reissue to CD format.
The long-awaited 11-CD box set of Braxton's interpretations of the Charlie Parker songbook. Very limited number of advanced copies. Braxton’s hard-swinging Charlie Parker Project, recorded in 1993 with a brilliant band including two geniuses since deceased—trumpeter Paul Smoker and pianist Misha Mengelberg—expands beyond its original two-CD form into a 11-CD box on New Braxton House, the imprint operated by Braxton’s Tri-Centric Foundation. The notion of listening to everything in sequence, including numerous versions of the same tunes, admittedly is daunting, but this is a set that you can drop into literally anywhere and be swept away instantly.
French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, whose honey-sweet voice perhaps remains the best introduction to the countertenor voice for the skeptical, attempts something new with the collection of gorgeous and generally underrated Vivaldi works. It might, therefore, not be perfectly appropriate as an introduction to Jaroussky, but it's a daring and altogether engrossing project. The collection is accurately billed as a group of sacred works for alto, which makes it a surprising attempt for : his voice corresponds most closely to a mezzo-soprano range, and he has in the past taken on full-scale operatic arias where his voice blooms into a colorful and attractive top. Here he deliberately forbids himself that part of his vocal repertoire, even in faster, more athletic pieces that would seem to permit it. Everything is kept at a very low temperature. It's a risky course, but several things come together to make it work, and work in a big way. One is the presence of Jaroussky's handpicked Ensemble Artaserse, which responds to the subtlety of his approach with a sensitivity that would be worth the price of admission in itself.
Performance (Quartet) 1979 is a live album by American composer and saxophonist Anthony Braxton recorded in Switzerland in 1979 and released on the hatART label. The album has also been issued as Performance 9/1/79 and Performance for Quartet.