These recently discovered tapes offer more of Anthony Braxton’s solo alto sax performances witnessed on his Koln (1978) and Milano Volumes I & II (1979) live recordings. A revolutionary and somewhat iconoclastic musician, Braxton’s penchant for surging into the freer realm is counterbalanced for his love of modern mainstream jazz, which are facets of his persona that his presented here.
Few artists possess the resources to sustain an audience’s attention by going it alone. And of course, Braxton counters that notion with alto sax in hand and a razor-sharp wit. The festivities commence with a string of free-form type compositions. He fuses buzzing and fluttering notes with geometrically-devised themes, abetted by his polytonal voicings and soul-stirring choruses. It’s as though every piece communicates an involved plot. And in some spots the artist infuses a riotous progression of events with gruff-toned lines and intense, intra-conversational style dialogues. But on standards such as "Alone Together," Braxton’s bluesy gait, buoyant swing vamps and acute use of vibrato serves as a contrast to the frantic gushes heard on the following piece "Composition 77e."
The saxophonist tempers the flow with a bop-ish spin on Thelonious Monk’s "Round ‘Bout Midnight," while dissecting John Coltrane’s "Giant Steps." Overall, this program should enthrall Braxton’s legion of admirers while residing as a significant edition to his extensive discography. (Essential.... )