Anthony Braxton – Wesleyan (12 Altosolos) 1992 (1993)

Anthony Braxton - Wesleyan (12 Altosolos) 1992 (1993)
Artist: Anthony Braxton
Album: Wesleyan (12 Altosolos) 1992
Label: hat ART
Year Of Release: 1993
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)

01. No 170i (4:51)
02. No 108d (+170b) (6:06)
03. No 170a (3:23)
04. Charlie’s Wig (6:54)
05. No 170c (+77d+99f) (6:04)
06. No 170f (+138c+106g+119d+99d+119f) (8:28)
07. I’m Gettin’ Sentimental over You (5:00)
08. No 170g (6:59)
09. No 106j (+106m) (4:08)
10. No 170h (5:28)
11. Just Friends (6:57)
12. No 118f (7:26)


Braxton released a number of solo alto saxophone albums in the wake of his extraordinary For Alto recorded in 1968, all of which are both fascinating documents in their own right as well as glimpses into the mechanisms which underlie his music. This live set from Wesleyan University in 1992 is no exception. One evolutionary difference here is that around this time Braxton began incorporating into his solo concerts a strategy he had developed during the ’80s for his quartet: collage procedures. This means that, while initially playing one composition, he allowed himself the option of interpolating others as he saw fit, making for an even wider array of “sound spaces” available for exploration. Indeed, the range he covers is amazing. The disc opens with one of the emotive, touching ballads that he has written and performed since his earliest recordings but which tend to be all too easily forgotten which critics refer to him as cold or calculating. There follow works dealing with rough and fast licks, drastic intervallic leaps, repetitive structures, trills, and many, many other aspects of the horn. All are investigated with a passion and intelligence rare in contemporary music. As is his wont, Braxton includes several standards: “Charlie’s Wig,” a little known Charlie Parker composition; “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You”; and “Just Friends,” a piece often played by Warne Marsh, one of Braxton’s idols on the saxophone and one of his true spiritual ancestors. Not only are these songs given sympathetic readings, but they’re also treated as fertile ground for probing discovery in ways their composers never imagined but, one thinks, would be proud of. Wesleyan (12 Altosolos) 1992 fits quite comfortably into the extraordinary series of recordings of this artist which continued to unearth entirely new and wonderfully creative “language music” for the alto saxophone.
Brian Olewnick

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