Anthony Braxton & Italian Instabile Orchestra
Creative Orchestra (Bolzano) 2007
Rai Trade Records
Available now at The Jazz Loft for $15.95.
Superbly recorded live at Alto Adige Jazz Festival in Bolzano, Italy in June of 2007.
Considering that we just listed some dozen discs (including several box sets) from Mr. Braxton that were released in the past year, I shouldn't have been surprised to find yet another treasure in the mail this week from the fine folks at Rai Trade. Many of the musicians in this fine orchestra are leaders on their own, as well as master instrumentalists. No doubt you should recognize the mighty names like Pino Minafra (CD's on Victo & Leo), Gianluigi Trovesi & Umberto Petrin (ECM, Soul Note & Splasch), Daniele Cavallanti & Tiziano Tononi (Splasch & Long Song) and Carlo Actis Dato (Leo & Splasch).
The Italian Instabile Orchestra are the premiere composers and players orchestra of Italy and feature a most impressive line-up of Italy's finest musicians. Each of their half dozen discs is a marvel of creative playing, impressive composing and constant ingenuity.Their last disc featured the great Cecil Taylor on piano and directing, while this one has the equally engaging Anthony Braxton playing saxes and directing four of his challenging compositions.
Mr. Braxton chose pieces from the earlier part of his long career like Compositions No. 59 & 63", as well as from the midpoint like Compositions No. 92 & 164". Listening to these pieces, all appear to challenging in different ways. Comp. No. 63" opens with dense layers that float around one another gracefully. Braxton is master of constantly shifting sonorities and this orchestra is the perfect vehicle for his various lines to intersect. A number of short yet inspired solos emerge (bari sax, acoustic bass, violin) from the different waves that Braxton conducts. Mr. Braxton's compositions often seem to balanced between written and freer passages, interconnected solos and layers of connected themes. Composition No. 92" actually swings in a most twisted sort of way and in an unexpected delight complete with strong solos from the trombone and flourishes of other instruments rising and falling into the currents. Umberto Petrin starts Composition No. 164" with some intense piano, while the other players swirl around him. Different combinations of musicians blend, connect and move around one another cautiously while different harmonies emerge.
No matter how chaotic any one section becomes, there is a constant underlying thread that holds this together. Mr. Braxton makes demands of his musicians and his listeners, both of us must work to hear all of the many wonders that are hidden within this music. Considering that it is only the first week of January, 2009, should we be surprised that we already have a contender for disc of the year!?! [though no doubt not the only one] - BLG
Ahtony Braxton (alto and sopranino saxophones); Gianluigi Trovesi, Daniele Cavallanti, Carlo Actis Dato, Eugenio Colombo (reeds); Pino Minafra, Alberto Mandarini, Guido Tramontana, Lauro Rossi (trombones); Martin Damiani (strings); Umberto Petrin (piano); Giovanni Maier (bass); Vencenzo Mazzone, Tiziano Tononi (drums)