Reissuing and remastering Braxton's outstanding radio concert for Radio DRS in Safranzunft, Basel in 1977 in a quintet with George Lewis on trombone, Muhal Richard Abrams on piano, Mark Helias on double bass, and Charles "Bobo" Shaw on drums.
Quintet (Basel) 1977
Released in: Switzerland
"I leave the discovery of favorite episodes or events to you. But its important to remember that despite Braxton's compositional craft-the motivating factors behind the music and the formal glue that holds it together-this is, as Braxton intended all along, music that emerges from the particular combination of musicians. George Lewis is one of Braxton's favorite collaborators, for reasons that should be immediately audible. Muhal Richard Abrams is a rare and fascinating addition to this group. Bassist Mark Helias and drummer Charles "Bobo" Shaw have not often been documented in Braxton's mus!c, yet they were occasional contributors during this period, and their familiarity with and commitment to the music is obvious. Despite the temporary, even fleeting nature of this ensemble, for me, what emanates from these performances is a spirit which exemplifies the life-affirming status of Anthony Braxton's music, reveals new information about the past, and gives us hope for the future."-Art Lange
• 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 Muhal Richard Abrams
"Muhal Richard Abrams - World renowned pianist and composer has been in the forefront of the contemporary music scene for well over forty years. Muhal is a co-founder of The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), founder of The AACM School of Music and President of The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, New York City Chapter. Muhal was the first recipient of the grand international jazz award, "The JazzPar Prize", which was awarded to him in 1990 by the Danish Jazz Center in Copenhagen, Denmark. In 1999 Muhal was presented a proclamation by Richard M. Daley, Mayor of the City of Chicago, declaring April 11, 1999 as Muhal Richard Abrams Day in Chicago. In 2009 Muhal was selected to be a USA Prudential Fellow by United States Artist. In 2010 Mr. Abrams was inducted into the Downbeat Magazine "Jazz Hall of Fame". Also, in 2010 Mr. Abrams was chosen by the National Endowment for the Arts to be a NEA Jazz Master. On May 16, 2012, Muhal received the degree of Doctor of Music, honoris causa, from Columbia University, New York City. Also, on October 19, 2012, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation presented Dr. Abrams with The BNY Mellon Jazz Living Legacy Award at The Kennedy Center, Washington, D. C.
Except for a brief period of study at Chicago Musical College and Governors State University in Chicago, Illinois where he studied electronic music, Dr. Abrams is predominately a self-taught musician who, as a result of many years of observation, analysis, and practice as a performing musician, has developed a highly respected command of a variety of musical styles both as a pianist and composer. The versatile Dr. Abrams and members of The AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) are responsible for some of the most original new music approaches of the last four decades.
Some of Dr. Abrams' compositions are: "String Quartet #2" performed by Kronos Quartet on November 22, 1985 at Carnegie Recital Hall in New York City; "Piano Duet #1" performed by Ursula Oppens and Frederic Rzewski for Music at the Crossroads on February 11, 1986, "Saturation Blue" performed on March 14, 1986, by The Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra Chamber Ensemble, "Folk Tales 88'" performed by The Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra on July 9, 1988, "Transversion I OP. 6" performed February 22 & 23, 1991 by The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, "What A Man" commissioned and performed by the Black Repertory Ensemble in behalf of the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College and The Friends of the Chicago Public Library in honor of the Late Mayor Harold Washington and to commemorate the opening of the Honorable Harold Washington Library on October 7, 1991; "Duet for Violin and Piano", commissioned by the McKim Fund in the Library of Congress, 1996; "Impressions 1" performed by the SEM Ensemble, 1997, "2000 Plus The Twelfth Step" performed by the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, 1999. "Tomorrow's Song, As Yesterday Sings Today" performed by the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York City, 2000. "Mergertone" performed by the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra, in Ostrava, Czech Republic, 2009.
In addition to teaching privately, Dr. Abrams has taught composition and improvisation classes at the Banff Center in Canada, Columbia University in New York City, Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, the New England Conservatory in Boston, Mass, the BMI composers workshop in New York City, and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland."-AkaMu (http://www.akamu.net/muhal/biography.htm)
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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 Charles 'Bobo' Shaw
"Charles "Bobo" Shaw (b. September 5, 1947, Pope, Mississippi) is an American free jazz drummer, known as a prominent member of the Human Arts Ensemble and Black Artists Group.
Charles "Bobo" Shaw joined the American Woodsman Drummer bugle corp in 1953 and also played with the Tom Powel Post American Legion #77. Shaw also learned trombone and bass growing up, and studied drums under Joe Charles and Elijah Shaw. "Bobo" also studied with Rich O'Donnel and Bernnie Snyder of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. He also was a founding member of the Black Artists Group, a St. Louis, Missouri ensemble, in the 1960s; during that decade he also played with Lester Bowie, Frank Lowe, Hamiett Bluiett, John Mixon, and Oliver Lake. He moved to Europe later in the 1960s and played in Paris with Anthony Braxton, Steve Lacy, Frank Wright, Alan Silva, Michel Portal, Cecil Taylor, Richard Martin, and Frank Lowe.
After returning to St. Louis, he played with Lake again in 1971 and then in the 1970s led the Human Arts Ensemble, playing with Lester Bowie, Joseph Bowie, Julius Hemphill, David Murray and Lake again. He played with Billy Bang in the 1980s, and experimented with incorporating new wave and funk music into his improvisational Jam Sessions at venues in New York City."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_%22Bobo%22_Shaw)
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Catalog ID: 676
Squidco Product Code: 23013
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded Live June 2, 1977 at Safranzunft, Basel, Switzerland by Radio DRS, Studio Basel; New CD-master August 2016 by Peter Pfister. Originally released in 2001 as hatOLOGY 545.
Anthony Braxton-alto saxophone, sopranino saxophone, clarinet
Muhal Richard Abrams-piano
Mark Helias-double bass
Charles 'Bobo' Shaw-drums
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1. Composition 69 J (Live) 16:26
2. Composition 69 N/G (Live) 26:03
3. Composition 69 M (Live) 12:52
4. Composition 40 B (Live) 18:16