Innlegg

Anthony Braxton med rock, soul og country

I de senere årene har det kommet en rekke bokser med den amerikanske saksofonisten Anthony Braxton. På sitt eget selskap, New Braxton House Records, har han blant annet utgitt innspillingen «Sextet (Parker) 1993» hvor han sammen med et mer enn kompetent band, med blant andre pianisten Misha Mengelberg og trommeslageren Han Bennink, gjør 11 plater med komposisjoner man forbinder med Charlie Parker. Han har også gjort innspillingen «Qunitet (Tristano) 2014», som består av sju CDer med musikk man forbinder med pianisten Lennie Tristano, hvor blant andre den norske bassisten Eivind Opsvik medvirker.

Nå er nettopp hans foreløpig siste boks i rekken av glimrende bokser utkommet, nemlig fire CD-boksen «Quartet (New Haven) 2014». Her møter vi han sammen med Taylor Ho Bynum på kornet, flugelhorn, piccolo and bass trumpet og trumpbone, Nels Cline på el.gitar og Greg Saunier på trommer.

De fire CDene er fordelt med en CD til Jimi Hendrix, en til Janis Joplin, en til James Brown og den siste til countryartisten Merle Haggard (!).

Platene ble innspilt den 2. og 3. juni 2014 i Firehouse 12 i New Haven. Derfor er også platen utgitt på platreselskapet Firehouse 12.

I liner notene til boksen skriver Taylor Ho Bynom blant annet følgende om prosjektet: «Much has been written about Anthony Braxton’s transformative synthesis of the trans-European and trans-African American creative music traditions: his heartfelt allegiance to influences as diverse as Hildegard von Bingen and Jelly Roll Morton, Alban Berg and Dave Brubeck, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Sun Ra. However, anyone who has had the pleasure of engaging Braxton in conversation knows his omnivorous musical enthusiasms extend far beyond the classical or jazz canons, and include a healthy dose of American popular music, from Johnny Mathis and Frank Sinatra to the Flamingos and Bill Haley to Bob Dylan and Captain Beefheart – to the four dedicatees of this recording.

Much has also been written about Braxton’s hunger for collaboration and the copious breadth of his recorded discography. It is probably true that in a world of unlimited resources and infinite time, Braxton would record a duo album with every interesting musician he ever met. But in a reality with budgetary restrictions to be considered and opera cycles to be completed, the studio projects are necessarily limited to those offering something fresh within his catalog – those that present a different set of parameters and approaches than previous recordings.

A collaboration of this kind demands creative partners of similar instincts and predilections, regardless of musical background. In Nels Cline and Greg Saunier, Braxton found ideal collaborators for this project. While best known for their high profile rock projects, Nels and Greg’s fluency in improvisation is no surprise. Nels was long-established as one of the premiere guitarist/composer/bandleaders in creative music well before his ongoing tenure as the lead guitarist in Wilco, and continues to maintain a fantastically productive balance between grassroots investigations and high-profile arena tours. Greg is not only a founding member of Deerhoof, one of today’s most adventurous rock bands, but also has his fingers in multiple creative projects. Their contributions brought two distinct voices to mix with the shared vocabulary Braxton and Taylor have honed over the last decade-plus of playing together.

This album is a beautiful realization of both concerns: idiomatic synthesis and collaboration. It is a sincere acknowledgement of some of Braxton’s rock & roll heroes, a musical embrace of some of the rhythmic and timbral constructs of that form. At the same time, it is clearly an Anthony Braxton album – dispensing with any genre-based structural imitations or limitations in its thrilling explorations of creative possibility…These sessions resulted in something fresh, something different, something exciting – not just for Braxton, but for all four of us. It doesn’t sound like Jimi Hendrix or James Brown, Janis Joplin or Merle Haggard – but I hope those American masters would smile at the dedications and find some sounds in this music that resonate across idiom, across genre, across generation».

Etter å ha gledet oss med både Parker- og Tristano-platene er det ingen tvil om at vi gleder oss til platen havner i postkassen.