Sunday, February 22, 2009

pisa trio 1980

this very interesting recording was brought to my attention the other day, and just in case anyone has any thoughts about it (or knows any more info), i thought it worth a post all of its own... (i did actually try and leave a comment on ubu-roi's blog, but apparently it didn't accept it..?)

crediting this to the "anthony braxton trio" is, i presume, a gloss added later. to an extent braxton does indeed take the lead, but these are surely not his pieces being played - the music has the feel of three-way group improv throughout, at least once the full trio is in action; the first short piece, on which rzewski isn't heard until near the end, seems to have been a simple idea worked out by b. and lewis beforehand, a drone-with-depth effect on which lewis' multiphonics summon the dead across vast freezing marshes, even as he continues playing the drone. as the second file begins it appears that all plans and blueprints have been scrapped, and the three-way construction which follows sounds at times a little hesitant. (piano is maybe not the most obvious voice for this sort of music..?) the audience, too, are maddeningly distracted as is obvious during the quieter passages. this, in turn, can only be somewhat off-putting for the performers, though they are all seasoned players and must be used to it. still, one does wonder what this audience was expecting, exactly. when the longest piece finishes, the eventual applause sounds rather perfunctory as if the crowd don't really know what they're applauding.

braxton seizes control with the next piece, opening with a prolonged squeal (a device which john zorn particularly likes also) and setting in the process a furious "pace" for the group territory which is very much taken up by the other two. effectively the piece becomes a triple solo statement, the three players snaking around and under each other at high speed until the burning intensity is spent and the music gently winds down. again, rather confused applause precedes the last piece here, what sounds like an improvised ballad structure. i wasn't totally convinced by this one, and again, the audience seems to be elsewhere entirely for much of it. typically enough, only when the performers take their bows do the penguins suddenly remember what their role is supposed to be. a few even cry for more, though there is not much suggestion that many were really troubling to listen the first time round.

pisa was the venue for another improv trio two years later, of course: i dealt with that one here (my upload, alas, is no longer live). bailey is a more natural partner for this sort of stuff, having been in on the ground floor so to speak. still, this earlier trio is fascinating for all braxton (and lewis) fans and well worth hearing... check it out and let us know what you think!

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that last reference to "us" was not delusional, by the way... the post dated the 9th feb really was by mcclintic sphere, as some readers may perhaps not have realised. after a long absence, the founder of this blog has returned to it, a cause for (dignified!) celebration i would think. some of you reading will probably not even remember who he is, others will suspect that i made him up - but older hands will recall him from the comments pages in c#9 and may well have downloaded some of his rips. i hope regular readers will join me in welcoming him back. the blog still has it in itself to evolve :)


centrifuge said...

despite what ubu says about removing a gap from the recording, there remains a rather large one in the second file. this occurs towards the end of the twelfth minute, round about 11.48 - judicious editing could restore seamless play by the sound of it (haven't attempted this yet myself).

1009 said...

Unrelated (in an immediate sense) to the post --

I don't know if you've seen this fellow Pablo's new blog. It was linked to through that-website-with-which-you-are-currently-on-less-than-friendly-terms. He's got a great rip of the Braxton Quartet at Moers from 1974 (strangely missing some tracks) amongst a bunch of other Braxton & wonders non-Braxton. He posts everything there in mp3@320, which I think is a nice compromise for everyone. Check him out:

centrifuge said...

320 eh, well i'd still be using 192, no-one complained when it was all that was forthcoming - but yeah, fine, compromise is the word i suppose. if it keeps the audiophiles happy(ish) in other words! if they were all in flacs, i would not be downloading them - and just think of all that electricity for so few users... better to trade it if they want it lossless, which is understandable if you use high-end gear to play it.

b, i was gonna do a quick post for one of those albums if i get the chance over the next day or two... cheers in the meantime...

... as for the braxton quartet at moers, if you want a reminder of what i made of it it's day seven, session two of the original braxtothon, link is down there on the front page... the encores (side four) are the best bit, is the conclusion i came to at the time! it was available... let's see, it was sambeck who put it up..? hang on...

yep, and sambeck's links are still
live by the look of it. see, what would you guys do without me ;-) quite a few of (canadian) pablo's stuff is or has been blogged elsewhere. (inevitably...) but that david murray last of the hipman (sic) album is complete, unlike the one which was posted at sol fwiw.