Sunday, December 16, 2007

october 07 braxtothon... day six (2) (part two)

[châteauvallon 1973 continued... see here)

there was an encore - or possibly only one number was broadcast from a later set, but at any rate we still have comp. 23d*, which i think of as "the ornette one", as it begins with a phrase which sounds as if it belongs on the shape of jazz to come (and indeed nearly quotes "peace") before turning its head and walking in a different direction, yet returning to that same place; wonderful unisons again on this, and (for what it's worth) this one really swings. b's solo - again, i have to say i hear parker and i hear dolphy and i hear braxton pushing through both and out the other side, into a territory he has already explored at length and in depth before anyone else got there, even found the door. like his predecessors, he plays shapes in his solo and can twist them into all sorts of weird and wonderful configurations without spelling chords or in any way creating a melody - how does he do that? it's beyond me, but look, wheeler can do it too, all angles, never anything other than free yet always turning back in on himself; one would scarcely guess this was wheeler at all (though his high smears would eventually give him away) - this wonderful piece, thoughtfully written and superbly presented, might be the highlight of many a performance; here, by contrast with what we've heard, it's more or less a party piece, just tossed off like an easy number to wind down - and yet it's so good, that "sideways" motif before the ending just marvellous (and surely self-consciously a dolphyism, could almost be from out to lunch this time). yeah, sounds like an encore to me... may those who were there cherish the memory...

and that's that. but, really, there is still time for:

dessert: comp. -2* (news..., tr. 4)
date: 7th december 1973

"-2" eh... that's not all that helpful... still, there is more info in the liners (where i often have to peek during these news bulletins): it really belongs in the 23 series at least chronologically, but for some reason got left out of the numbering... this performance is a one-off, at least in the discog: an ad-hoc quartet for a concert in nantes matching braxton and wheeler with pianist antoine duhamel, dodecaphonic composer (it sez ere) famous for his soundtracks, and french/algerian bassist françois mechali - these two, writes martinelli in the notes, "often played contemporary music together, whereas very few traces remain of their jazz and improvisational music. the collaboration of this duo with braxton nonetheless went down in history..." (actually mechali had already worked with braxton: he was one of two bassists in the 1972 creative music orch.)

the piece begins with a little three-note phrase from the leader that sounds uncannily like the opening of parker's "all the things..." (dial masters) for a second, though that's dispelled at once, the train of thought lost even as the triple-pattern recurs, the bass very soon off on a prowl, not a walking bass in the jazz sense, more a running bass, an urgent pulse creating no little tension - and the line which is then revealed is startlingly full of that tension and its various attempts at release: "arresting" is the word which sprang to mind, full of shrill attacks from the reed, the brass and the piano as the bass stabs urgently along with its own (secret) agenda - this strikes me at once as another "proto-pulse track" (like the warne marsh piece from tokyo), and the friction between the theme and the pulse generates (yet again) a phenomenal solo from mr anthony braxton... fountain of solos... duhamel gamely plucks away the whole time, refusing to be cowed into silence, but (inevitably) more in tune with mechali than with the soloist - yet b. is in playful mood here and from time to time in his solo he seems to let slip phrases, or fragments, of what could almost be pop songs. duhamel unleashes a clangorous solo of his own once braxton has finished - he seems unable to break away from the bass, though; pity, because when wheeler takes over and starts being free, mechali responds by ratcheting right up through the gears, forcing the pace and generating unexpected heat... a strange piece this, then, leaving me unable to shake that "all the things..." flashframe, one theme which is right out of the professor's lab (and a nagging pulse to go with it) versus another which seems almost semi-recognisable as a ballad... schizoid, and strange, and it's over before i could get near the bottom of it.

(i already done told you, news is CCCC stuff... no grading for the airshot recording - but let's be serious, those of you who didn't already have it will want it by now)

distractions: more dogs
write-up: hahahahahahahahahahahahhhhhh

1 comment:

centrifuge said...

right, that's me definitely done for the weekend... i realised i had to get that second part up when i remembered i hadn't yet published my impressions of "comp. -2", mentioned in an earlier post today... ok, anyway, there's still three more entries to come and who knows whether the last one will take shape in time, or not... then it's gonna be a slightly different focus until such time as i can get the train back on the tracks... ... btw ;-)