1978 recordings of AACM wind phenomenon Mitchell performing fascinating and advanced compositions with Braxton, Leo Smith, Henry Threadgill, George Lewis and Don Moye.
L-R-G/ The Maze/ S Ii Examples
Released in: USA
"Like Sound and Nonaah, the three compositions that make up this double LP/single CD on Chuck Nessa's home label offer a picture of Roscoe Mitchell not only as a composer and instrumentalist, but as a sound sculptor. Unlike his contemporary Anthony Braxton, Mitchell's compositions always have a deep concern with the very nature of sound. On "L-R-G," which stands for Leo Smith, Roscoe Mitchell and George Lewis, the nature of sound in all its registers is the concern. From the extreme low end of the sousaphone played by Lewis, through the various members of the trombone family to Mitchell on the reeds and woodwinds in the middle, and all of its shapes and colors through to Smith, whose expertise on the trumpet and cornet family moves to the upper register of the piccolo trumpet, Mitchell explores the various interactions -- in improvised context -- of the relationships between single and grouped sounds. "The Maze" is a piece for percussion and sound octet. Among those included are Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, Thurman Barker, Douglas Ewart, and fellow Art Ensembles members Don Moye, Joseph Jarman, and Malachi Favors. This is a long strangely intervallic piece, with doors opening onto one set of textured improvisations while another closes, all of them within the context of sonic relationship. Finally there is the mammoth soprano saxophone meditation "S II Examples." This work is perhaps the most sustained tonal meditation on the soprano saxophone on record. Far being a recording of "improvisations," what "S II Examples" proposes and accomplishes is the evocation and elocution of the sonic palette of the soprano horn as it mingles with breath control, and its own microtonal reverberations. This is a very slow, controlled, and gradually unfolding work that is one of Mitchell's masterpieces in terms of giving himself and the listener a total view of how numerous the sonic and spatial possibilities are on the straight horn. Taken together, these three works mark the turn in Mitchell's work from the early years into his more mature period, which continues into this 21st century along a continuum: the preoccupation of the composer with the mystery of sound and its various incarnations in ensembles or in relationship to itself."-Thom Jurek, All Music
• 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 George Lewis
"George E. Lewis is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University. A 2015 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, Lewis has received a MacArthur Fellowship (2002), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015), a United States Artists Walker Fellowship (2011), an Alpert Award in the Arts (1999), and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2015, Lewis received the degree of Doctor of Music (DMus, honoris causa) from the University of Edinburgh.
A member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, Lewis's work in electronic and computer music, computer-based multimedia installations, and notated and improvisative forms is documented on more than 140 recordings. His work has been presented by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonia Orchestra, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Talea Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, Ensemble Pamplemousse, Wet Ink, Ensemble Erik Satie, Eco Ensemble, and others, with commissions from American Composers Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Harvestworks, Ensemble Either/Or, Orkestra Futura, Turning Point Ensemble, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, 2010 Vancouver Cultural Olympiad, IRCAM, Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, and others. Lewis has served as Ernest Bloch Visiting Professor of Music, University of California, Berkeley; Paul Fromm Composer in Residence, American Academy in Rome; Resident Scholar, Center for Disciplinary Innovation, University of Chicago; and CAC Fitt Artist In Residence, Brown University.
Lewis received the 2012 SEAMUS Award from the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States, and his book, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press, 2008) received the American Book Award and the American Musicological Society's Music in American Culture Award. Lewis is co-editor of the two-volume Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies (2016), and his opera Afterword, commissioned by the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago, premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in October 2015 and has been performed in the United States, United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic.
Professor Lewis came to Columbia in 2004, having previously taught at the University of California, San Diego, Mills College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Koninklijke Conservatorium Den Haag, and Simon Fraser University's Contemporary Arts Summer Institute. Lewis studied composition with Muhal Richard Abrams at the AACM School of Music, and trombone with Dean Hey."-Columbia University (http://music.columbia.edu/bios/george-e-lewis)
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• Show Bio for Henry Threadgill
"Henry Threadgill (born February 15, 1944) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer, saxophonist and flautist, who came to prominence in the 1970s leading ensembles with unusual instrumentation and often incorporating a range of non-jazz genres.
Threadgill studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, majoring in piano, flute, and composition. He studied piano with Gail Quillman and composition with Stella Roberts. He has been a bandleader and composer for over forty years. He was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his composition In for a Penny, In for a Pound, which premiered at Roulette Intermedium on December 4, 2014
Threadgill has performed and recorded with several ensembles: Air, Aggregation Orb, Make a Move, the seven-piece Henry Threadgill Sextett, the twenty-piece Society Situation Dance Band, Very Very Circus, X-75, and Zooid."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Threadgill)
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Catalog ID: NES 14
Squidco Product Code: 11742
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded August 7, 1978 by Rudy Van Gelder at Van Gelder Recording Studio; July 27, 1978 by Don Puluse at CBS 30th Strreet Studio; August 17, 1978 by Mark Rubenstein at Streeterville Studios.
Roscoe Mitchell-Clarinet, Flute, Percussion, Chimes, Conga, Cymbals, Glockenspiel, Gong, Horn, Oboe, Piccolo, Alto Sax, Baritone Sax, Bass Sax, Soprano Sax, Tenor Sax, Triangle, Bugle, Balafon, Cowbell, Wood Block, Finger Cymbals, Temple Blocks
Thurman Barker-Percussion, Conga, Drums, Glockenspiel, Gong, Marimba, Triangle, Whistle (Human), Bells, Cowbell, Slapstick
Anthony Braxton-Percussion, Cymbals, Bass Drums, Glockenspiel, Marimba, Xylophone, Snare Drums, Washtub Bass, Machines, Orchestra Bells
Douglas Ewart-Percussion, Chimes, Cymbals, Glockenspiel, Gong, Marimba, Xylophone, Bells, Snare Drums, Cowbell, Bamboo Drum Set
Malachi Favors-Percussion, Gong, Horn, Tambourine, Zither, Balafon, Shaker, Handbells, Log Drums, Temple Gongs
Joseph Jarman-Percussion, Chimes, Conga, Cymbals, Drums, Gong, Horn, Marimba, Tom-Tom, Bells, Balafon, Vibraphone, Conch Shell, Handbells, Chinese Cymbals, Temple Gongs
George Lewis-Tuba, Sousaphone, Alto Trombone, Tenor Trombone
Don Moye-Percussion, Conga, Drums, Gong, Horn, Marimba, Triangle, Balafon, Cowbell, Wood Block, Handbells, Temple Gongs
Famoudou Don Moye-Percussion, Conga, Cymbals, Drums, Gong, Horn, Marimba, Triangle, Balafon, Cowbell, Wood Block, Handbells, Temple Gongs
Leo Smith-Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Pocket Trumpet
Henry Threadgill-Percussion, Chimes, Cymbals, Drums, Gong, Alto Sax, Stick, Bells, Brass, Finger Cymbals, Rhythmstick, Handbells
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1. L-R-G 36:43
2. The Maze 20:46
3. S II Examples 17:32