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Gerry Hemingway/Marilyn Crispell/Mark Dresser: Play Braxton

Track List

>Composition 116
>Composition 23C
>Composition 108C/110/69Q
>Composition 69B [8.2]
>Composition 40N/40B

Album Notes

Personnel: Gerry Hemingway (drums); Marilyn Crispell (piano).

Audio Mixer: Gerry Hemingway.

Recording information: Tedesco Studios, Teaneck, NJ (04/19/2010).

Photographer: Gerry Hemingway.

In 2012, John Zorn's Tzadik label hosted something like a School of Anthony Braxton reunion, as pianist Marilyn Crispell, bassist Mark Dresser, and drummer Gerry Hemingway revisited some of the life-transforming lessons learned during their adventures with the unparalleled composer, philosopher, and multi-instrumentalist during the '80s. Of the five realizations based within Braxton's numerically titled works, two follow his tendency to combine more than one formula in succession, as in the combined compositions "108C/110/69Q." Braxton has explained that "Composition 23C" is an additive, repetitive structure for exploration dynamics and extended interpretation that was composed in 1973. Designed to continually surprise and enrich both instrumentalists and listeners, "23C" "is dedicated to the great athlete Willie Mays. "Composition 40N," which materializes here in combination with "40B," is a drone platform for extended improvisation that was composed in the Black Forest of Western Germany during the spring of 1975. Braxton aligns "40N" with African as well as Indian musical traditions, comparing it with the raga as a sensitive music universe that achieves peace and understanding as a basis from which to expand and grow. "40N," he says, is "a direct statement about serious matters" which was conceived in response to the music of John Coltrane, Joseph Jarman, and Kalaparusha Difda. It reflects the composer's "awareness of modalism and the power of one note." The trio of Hemingway, Dresser, and Crispell achieves and sustains an empowered communion while celebrating Braxton's highly advanced formulae for collective improvisation. Comparisons can and should be drawn with the album Kevin Norton & Haewon Min Play the Music of Anthony Braxton. Parallels also exist with the "University of Ornette Coleman" band Old and New Dreams, as well as Sphere, the group whose members shared the honor of having worked with Thelonious Sphere Monk. In each unit, the archetypal changes wrought by a great and influential composer are expanded upon by artists whose close involvement made it possible to further the ideas and methodology of the masters. ~ arwulf arwulf


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