A multimedia box set of Anthony Braxton's opera work "Trillium J", containing live performance video on Blu-ray disc of a 2014 performance at Roulette in NY, and studio recording on 4-CD set, with 12 vocalists, 12 instrumental soloists and a full orchestra.
Trillium J [4 CDs + Blu Ray]
Label: Braxton House/Firehouse 12 Records
Released in: USA
"[...] Braxton has identified the Trillium opera cycle as the ongoing project closest to his heart. Once complete, he envisions an interlinked "opera complex" of 36 acts where each chapter also exists as a stand-alone opera. Three have been performed so far: Trillium A (one act, fully staged in San Diego in 1985), Trillium M (two acts, in a concert performance in London in 1994) and Trillium R (four acts, fully staged in NYC in 1996). The performances of Trillium M and Trillium R both resulted in CD releases, and the four-act Trillium E was recorded in the studio in 2010 and commercially released the following year. Braxton is currently in the final stages of Trillium X (four acts), which will bring him more than halfway to his ultimate goal. [...]"-Broadway World
"I fail to describe my feelings having never experienced anything like this before. Perhaps one could compare Trillium J to Richard Foreman's plays in the way it captures the absurd, the unexpectedness and ambiguity of contemporary world. Weave these into the voices of 12 vocalists and the sounds of 12 instrumental soloists with full orchestra, excellent acting, pseudo-philosophical digressions, visual projections, young skipping-rope Jazzy Jumpers and two of New York's best contemporary dance improvisers Rachel Bernsen and Melanie Maar, and you get the mix.
At any specific moment I could not recognize what exactly (music, words, acting, etc.) made me smile in a very strange way - the smile that sometimes comes from experiencing the misfortunes of Daniil Harms's characters. This is perhaps the genius of a gesamtkunstwerk artist (Braxton wrote both the music and the libretto) - to blend all the media so naturally that a spectator cannot recognize the source of their feelings. Howdoes the absurd feel? As an interlude before the Second Scene of Act IV, Jazzy Jumpers entered with their skipping-ropes and the choir started improvising "random" sounds to their movements. I sensed tears in my eyes, obviously neither out of sadness or joy. What catalyzed the sublime was (perhaps?) the excitement that something so contemporary and so musically apt was composed -the genre of opera has a future; at least it definitely has a present.
But the climax was still to come. The interlude could either feel like just another meaningful nonsense - the ridiculousness that was so fittingly at the wrong place, - or depict a stratum of society to be juxtaposed with the final scene - the trial of Sally Wanton. Despite the obvious references to social injustices of American society, Ms Walton reminded me of Russian President Vladimir Putin in her ability to pour complete nonsense and reject obvious evidence of crime with complete confidence (as well as accept it and immediately render crucial statements trifle). This is where, perhaps, "the concept of affinity," the opera's major theme, lies.
Everyone walked out with a radiant face - those who thought of multiple possibilities of political connotations, or those who just took "the poetic transiency" and "undefinition that seeks its own level" as a flow of beautiful nonsense. George Crumb once said that he was "frightened of a possibility to write an opera, nothing comes close to Wozzeck." Whether you agreed with that or not in the past, you would definitely have to consider replacing Wozzeck with The Non-Unconfessionables. Should 21st century opera, and music for that matter, only be political? It is not always this or that, it is often the other."-Erlena Dlu, extendtechniques.com
• Show Bio for Anthony Braxton
[Anthony Braxton (born June 4, 1945) is an American composer and instrumentalist.]
"Genius is a rare commodity in any art form, but at the end of the 20th century it seemed all but non-existent in jazz, a music that had ceased looking ahead and begun swallowing its tail. If it seemed like the music had run out of ideas, it might be because Anthony Braxton covered just about every conceivable area of creativity during the course of his extraordinary career. The multi-reedist/composer might very well be jazz's last bona fide genius. Braxton began with jazz's essential rhythmic and textural elements, combining them with all manner of experimental compositional techniques, from graphic and non-specific notation to serialism and multimedia. Even at the peak of his renown in the mid- to late '70s, Braxton was a controversial figure amongst musicians and critics. His self-invented (yet heavily theoretical) approach to playing and composing jazz seemed to have as much in common with late 20th century classical music as it did jazz, and therefore alienated those who considered jazz at a full remove from European idioms. Although Braxton exhibited a genuine -- if highly idiosyncratic -- ability to play older forms (influenced especially by saxophonists Warne Marsh, John Coltrane, Paul Desmond, and Eric Dolphy), he was never really accepted by the jazz establishment, due to his manifest infatuation with the practices of such non-jazz artists as John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Many of the mainstream's most popular musicians (Wynton Marsalis among them) insisted that Braxton's music was not jazz at all. Whatever one calls it, however, there is no questioning the originality of his vision; Anthony Braxton created music of enormous sophistication and passion that was unlike anything else that had come before it. Braxton was able to fuse jazz's visceral components with contemporary classical music's formal and harmonic methods in an utterly unselfconscious -- and therefore convincing -- way. The best of his work is on a level with any art music of the late 20th century, jazz or classical.
Braxton began playing music as a teenager in Chicago, developing an early interest in both jazz and classical musics. He attended the Chicago School of Music from 1959-1963, then Roosevelt University, where he studied philosophy and composition. During this time, he became acquainted with many of his future collaborators, including saxophonists Joseph Jarman and Roscoe Mitchell. Braxton entered the service and played saxophone in an Army band; for a time he was stationed in Korea. Upon his discharge in 1966, he returned to Chicago where he joined the nascent Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). The next year, he formed an influential free jazz trio, the Creative Construction Company, with violinist Leroy Jenkins and trumpeter Leo Smith. In 1968, he recorded For Alto, the first-ever recording for solo saxophone. Braxton lived in Paris for a short while beginning in 1969, where he played with a rhythm section comprised of bassist Dave Holland, pianist Chick Corea, and drummer Barry Altschul. Called Circle, the group stayed together for about a year before disbanding (Holland and Altschul would continue to play in Braxton-led groups for the next several years). Braxton moved to New York in 1970. The '70s saw his star rise (in a manner of speaking); he recorded a number of ambitious albums for the major label Arista and performing in various contexts. Braxton maintained a quartet with Altschul, Holland, and a brass player (either trumpeter Kenny Wheeler or trombonist George Lewis) for most of the '70s. During the decade, he also performed with the Italian free improvisation group Musica Elettronica Viva, and guitarist Derek Bailey, as well as his colleagues in AACM. The '80s saw Braxton lose his major-label deal, yet he continued to record and issue albums on independent labels at a dizzying pace. He recorded a memorable series of duets with bop pioneer Max Roach, and made records of standards with pianists Tete Montoliu and Hank Jones. Braxton's steadiest vehicle in the '80s and '90s -- and what is often considered his best group -- was his quartet with pianist Marilyn Crispell, bassist Mark Dresser, and drummer Gerry Hemingway. In 1985, he began teaching at Mills College in California; he subsequently joined the music faculty at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where he taught through the '90s. During that decade, he received a large grant from the MacArthur Foundation that allowed him to finance some large-scale projects he'd long envisioned, including an opera. At the beginning of the 21st century, Braxton was still a vital presence on the creative music scene."-All Music, Chris Kelsey (http://www.allmusic.com/artist/anthony-braxton-mn0000924030/biography)
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• Show Bio for Mark Helias
"Mark Helias is a renowned bassist, composer and producer who has performed throughout the world for more than four decades with some of the most important and innovative musicians in Jazz and Improvised Music including Don Cherry, Edward Blackwell, Anthony Davis, Dewey Redman, Anthony Braxton, Abbey Lincoln, Cecil Taylor, and Uri Caine among many others. A prolific composer, Helias has written music for two feature films as well as chamber pieces and works for large ensemble and big band. His orchestra piece "Stochasm" was premiered by the American Composers Orchestra in June of 2011. Twelve recordings of his music have been released since 1984, his latest being "The Signal Maker" on the Intakt label. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College, and SIM (School for Improvisational Music) in Brookyn, NY."-Mark Helias Website (http://www.markhelias.com)
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• Show Bio for Ingrid Laubrock
"Originally from Germany, Ingrid Laubrock resides in Brooklyn, NY. Between 1989 and 2009 she was active as a saxophonist and composer in London/UK. She performed and/or recorded with: Anthony Braxton, Dave Douglas, Kenny Wheeler, Jason Moran, Tim Berne, William Parker, Tom Rainey, Mary Halvorson, Kris Davis, Tyshawn Sorey, Craig Taborn, Luc Ex, Django Bates' Human Chain, The Continuum Ensemble and many others.
Ingrid's current projects as a leader are Anti-House, Sleepthief, Ingrid Laubrock Orchestra, Ingrid Laubrock Sextet and Ubatuba. Collaborations include LARK,Haste,Paradoxical Frog and Ingrid Laubrock/Tom Rainey Duo.She is a member of Anthony Braxton's Falling River Music Quartet, Nonet and 12+1tet, Tom Rainey Trio and Obbligato, Andrew Drury's Content Provider, Mary Halvorson Septet, Kris' Davis Quintet, Nate Wooley's Battle Pieces and Luc Ex' Assemblée. Ingrid was one of the featured soloists in Anthony Braxton's opera Trillium J.
Awards include the BBC Jazz Award for Innovation in 2004, a Fellowship in Jazz Composition by the Arts Foundation in 2006, the 2009 SWR German Radio Jazz Prize and the 2014 German Record Critics Quarterly Award. Commissions include Jammy Dodgers for jazz quintet and dancers (2006), Nonet music for Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2007, SWR New Jazz Meeting 2011 and "Vogelfrei", a piece for chamber orchestra (ACO/Tricentric Foundation). She won Rising Star/soprano saxophone in the 2015 in the 'Downbeat Annual Critics Poll and won the 'El Intruso Critics Poll for tenor saxophone in 2013. Ingrid was Improviser in Residence 2012 in the German city Moers. The post is created to introduce creative music into the city throughout the year. As part of this she led a regular improvisation ensemble and taught sound workshops in elementary schools. Other teaching experiences include improvisation workshops at Towson University, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Baruch College, University of Michigan, University of Newcastle and many others."-Ingrid Laubrock Website (http://ingridlaubrock.com/about.html)
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• Show Bio for Taylor Ho Bynum
"Taylor Ho Bynum (b. 1975) has spent his career navigating the intersections between structure and improvisation - through musical composition, performance and interdisciplinary collaboration, and through production, organizing, teaching, writing and advocacy. As heard on over twenty recordings as a bandleader, Bynum's expressionistic playing on cornet and his expansive vision as composer have garnered him critical attention as one of the singular musical voices of his generation. He currently leads his Sextet and 7-tette, and works with many collective ensembles including a duo with drummer Tomas Fujiwara, the improv trio Book of Three, the UK/US collaborative Convergence Quartet, the dance/music interdisciplinary ensemble Masters of Ceremony, and the trans-idiomatic little big band Positive Catastrophe.
His varied endeavors include his Acoustic Bicycle Tours (where he travels to concerts solely by bike across thousands of miles) and his stewardship of Anthony Braxton's Tri-Centric Foundation (which he serves as executive director, producing most of Braxton's recent major projects). In addition to his own bands, his ongoing collaboration with Braxton, past work with other legendary figures such as Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor, and current collective projects with forward thinking peers, Bynum increasingly travels the globe to conduct community-based large ensembles in explorations of new creative orchestra music. He is also a published author and contributor to The New Yorker's Culture Blog, has taught at universities, festivals, and workshops worldwide, and has served as a panelist and consultant for leading funders and organizations. His work has received support from Creative Capital, the Connecticut Office of the Arts, Chamber Music America, New Music USA, USArtists International, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation."-Taylor Ho Bynum website (http://taylorhobynum.com/)
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• Show Bio for Jacob Garchik
"Jacob Garchik, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and arranger, was born in San Francisco and has lived in New York since 1994. At home in a wide variety of styles and musical roles, he has become a vital part of NYC's downtown and Brooklyn scene, playing trombone with the Lee Konitz Nonet, Ohad Talmor/Steve Swallow Sextet, The Four Bags, Slavic Soul Party, and the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble. In 2012 he released the acclaimed solo CD "The Heavens: the Atheist Gospel Trombone Album".
Since 2006 Jacob has contributed dozens of arrangements and transcriptions for the Kronos Quartet of music from all over the world. His arrangements were featured on "Floodplain" (2009) and "Rainbow" (2010). He composed the score for Kronos for the documentary film "The Campaign" (2013) about the fight for marriage equality in California, which aired on PBS and at the frameline37 film festival in San Francisco.Complete list of arrangements for Kronos
As a trombonist Jacob has worked with many of the luminaries of the avant-garde, including Henry Threadgill, Laurie Anderson, Anthony Braxton, Anthony Coleman, Joe Maneri, Frank London, James Tenney, Josh Roseman, Don Byron, Terry Reilly, George Lewis, and Billy Martin. He has also played in ensembles led by rising artists such as Mary Halvorson, Dan Weiss, Miguel Zenon, and Steve Lehman. In 2013 he was named a "Rising Star" in the Downbeat Magazine Jazz Critic's Poll. Jacob also plays accordion, bass trombone, tuba, computer, and piano."-Jacob Garchik Website (http://jacobgarchik.com/?page_id=8)
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Shipping Weight: 18.00 units
Quantity in Basket: None
Label: Braxton House/Firehouse 12 Records
Catalog ID: FHR NBH 906
Squidco Product Code: 21981
Format: 4 CDs + BluRay
Packaging: Box Set - 4 CDS, 1 BluRay + Booklet
Live performance recorded at Roulette, in Brooklyn, New York on April 19th, 2014.
Studio realization recorded at Avatar Studios, in New York, New York April 21st Ð 22nd, 2014.
Anthony Braxton-composer, Libretto, conductor
Jim Hobbs-banjo, clarinet, saxophone
Kelvin Chan-baritone vocals
Chris DiMeglio-baritone vocals
Roland Burks-bass vocals
Ingrid Laubrock-clarinet, saxophone
Josh Sinton-clarinet, saxophone
Mike McGinnis-clarinet, saxophone
Oscar Noriega-clarinet, saxophone
Taylor Ho Bynum-conductor
Nathan Koci-French horn
Vincent Chancey-French horn
Kristin Fung-mezzo-soprano vocals
Elizabeth Saunders-mezzo-soprano vocals
Kathy Halvorson-oboe, English horn
Katie Scheele-oboe, English horn
Libby Van Cleve-oboe, Englishhorn
Lucy Dhegrae-soprano vocals
Kamala Sankaram-soprano vocals
Kyoko Kitamura-soprano vocals
Jen Shyu-soprano vocals
Nick Hallett-tenor vocals
Tomas Cruz-tenor vocals
Vince Vincent-tenor vocals, voice
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1. Act I 57:45
1. Act II 36:51
1. Act III 54:04
1. Act IV 61:38