Sunday, August 17, 2008

a quick vote for eugene

restructures link

does everyone already know about this one? it's not an obscure album at all, and indeed it's still in print, for a change... i had never prioritised it for some reason (well... maybe that cover, which looks to me like something a child might chuck together!) - until recently, that is, when i decided it was missing in my life...

... so, with that rectified, the album has ended up doing a lot of duty lately as background music - that's what it's been in theory anyway. in practice, several times i have ended up stopping what i was doing in order to sit quietly and give the music more of my attention. this is a very interesting programme, given a committed and inspired reading by a young and lively-minded group of players - many of whom, presumably, would never have dreamed they'd be working with anthony braxton before mike heffley made contact with him. the fact that such an ambitious project came about from such small beginnings - and was realised with great success - reconfirms this man's extraordinarily encouraging influence.

braxton and heffley aside, few if any of the musicians will be familiar - but don't let that put anyone off. the territories here are challenging and obsessive, some fairly bristling with tension (comps. 134, 45, 71 for example - the last a fairly close relative to comp. 40f which is up for examination very soon), synth and electric guitar are both present... and the 80-minute concert is rounded off with comp. 59 - the little concerto for two soloists, already familiar to many of us. those of you who don't know this one - go on, give the deserving retailer of your choice a spot of business... and those who already have it, what do you think?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like Anthony's large ensemble recordings in general, but this one really is a prize. Not to be missed my any Braxtophile.

centrifuge said...

thanks for your "vote" anon! do feel free to give us a name next time, whatever form it might take ;-)

Anonymous said...

The Eugene CD is a must have for any fan. Of course, AB has done many large works, amazingly, considering how difficult such projects are to fund, but these pieces are quite short, dynamic, and easy to wrap the ears around. I might argue that this CD is the best place to begin listening to his large orchestral works. And yeah, the cover sucks, but we can live with it.

Interestingly, a couple of the Comps. (e.g., 91 & 93) were recorded for Swedish radio years earlier. I have a copy of the broadcast, but I haven't taken the time to compare them. Damn, this might be something good to tackle this weekend.

--martini

centrifuge said...

martini, thanks for your thoughts - let me know if you dig out those swedish radio pieces! (are you by any chance in a position to share them digitally..?)

Frédito said...

Hi Cent' !
I first played this live recording last night, and the first thing that struck me was the ellingtonian sound on the opener Comp. 112, as it did to you. A few things I wrote down while listening : the very captivating Comp. 134 was reminiscent, particularly at the beginning, of the music for puppet theater issued on the Braxton House label, a piece I had the opportunity to hear recently.
On the whole the Eugene concert was a constant source of amazement. Freshness, finesse, profusion, harmonious abundance. Five stars !

centrifuge said...

salut f! i played this album again quite recently, funnily enough... it really is a very challenging programme, with the "crowd-pleaser" numbers mostly in the second half, the audience (and the band!) worked very hard in the meantime. but i agree with you, it is a superb album i think :)

[looking back at my post, brief as it was, i can't find the reference to ellington! but i know that i did indeed make that connection, and a further one with mingus... must have been in a different post i guess..!]

Frédito said...

The connection with Ellington and Mingus (and Dolphy) was on your November 14 2008 post :
http://ifyouknowwhatimsaying.blogspot.com/2008/11/eugene-revisitedish-and-one-or-two.html

Funny that you played Eugene recently too !

centrifuge said...

ah yes, that's right... now, like i say i played it again recently, and had a few more observations to make about it - if i ever find the time, i've got a whole load of (smallish) posts queued up in my head at the moment... but a continuing series of computer problems means i don't seem to be getting anything done :(