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Quartet (Standards) 2020

by Anthony Braxton

supported by
John Cratchley
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John Cratchley Always an absolute pleasure when Mr Braxton turns his unique sensibilities towards the ‘standard’ repertoire…this set looks monumental but feels anything but: alive, contemporary and compelling…if his music is new to you, please also check out ‘19 Standards’, ‘20 Standards’, ‘23 Standards’, ‘The Charlie Parker Project’ et al…you will be delighted.
Noël Akchoté
Noël Akchoté thumbnail
Noël Akchoté Listening to Anthony Braxton is always such a joy and alert, but this particular Quartet and Repertoire is a real source of renewal for me!
Sailor Dog
Sailor Dog thumbnail
Sailor Dog The beatnik says to the waiter, How's the soup? Waiter says, oh the soup is gone. Beatnik says, I'll have some of that crazy soup! Favorite track: I Remember You.
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Minority 12:20
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Desafinado 11:28
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Alfie 04:20
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Pumpkin 13:22
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The Duke 10:32
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Invitation 17:32
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Take Ten 09:07
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Evidence 04:47
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Old Friends 05:24
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Embarcadero 13:59
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Alfred 08:21
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Impressions 09:01
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Four 12:50
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Virgo 19:14
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Jinrikisha 09:20
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Black Nile 03:48
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Remember 10:05
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Nardis 09:49
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Like Sonny 15:58
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Off Minor 09:46
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Equinox 07:26
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Pannonica 11:15
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The Bridge 11:08
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Django 07:40
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Eronel 10:42
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Easy Living 10:28
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Way Out West 06:41
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about

On June 18, 2021, the Tri-Centric Foundation and New Braxton House Records will release Anthony Braxton's "Quartet (Standards) 2020", a 13-CD deluxe box set documenting Braxton’s European tour in January last year. Armed with a songbook of over one hundred tunes, Braxton crossed the Atlantic and assembled a stellar ensemble of British musicians – Alexander Hawkins on piano, Neil Charles on bass and Stephen Davis on drums. The box set comprises sixty-seven tracks culled from nine evenings of performances in London, Warsaw and Wels representing decades of American music, from the Great American songbook to Paul Simon via music by jazz luminaries including Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Andrew Hill, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, and many more.

Widely revered as one of the most original composers and conceptualists of the past fifty years, Braxton has also pursued his own idiosyncratic path through the jazz repertoire throughout his career, including his 1974 recording "What's New in the Tradition" and his more recently released eleven-album Charlie Parker tribute, “Sextet (Parker) 1993”. “Mid-way through his eighth decade, Braxton is doing the opposite of slowing down or resting on his laurels, and whereas the instantiation of a ‘standards quartet’ might elsewhere be taken as a retreat into comfortable, familiar traditionalism, Braxton’s history with standards thus far should lead us to expect nothing of the kind,” writes David Grundy in the liner notes for “Quartet (Standards) 2020”.

Indeed, in the hands of Braxton and his cohorts, the familiar is an entry point into the unknown. Take “Virgo” for example, on which the musicians liberally weave in Language Music, Braxton’s conducted improvisation system, as a backdrop behind Braxton’s playing. Braxton’s role as the interpreter in the ensemble is thus unified with his immense legacy as composer and creator of music systems by the next-generation musicians versed in his system. That kind of shared understanding by the musicians is palpable throughout the recording. Nestled among the more jazzier side of things are the familiar but unexpected selections from Simon & Garfunkel repertoire which highlight another dimension of the band.

The tour took place in January 2020, just as the world was starting to shut down. There were a slew of events scheduled to celebrate Anthony’s 75th birthday – including multi-day performances at the Big Ears Festival, an international conference on his work and another European tour – which never happened. As David Grundy writes, “Never buying into the myth of the old separated from the new or the new separated from the old, such music is palimpsestic. You can see through the layers to the music’s origins at virtually every point; but equally, you can see ahead to the future, what Braxton calls “the open space”. In a time at once of unmooring and of “shelter-in-place”, we need such approaches more than ever. This music can help us, all—in our individual, joined and separated ways—to know where we are.”

credits

released June 18, 2021

Anthony Braxton - saxophones
Alexander Hawkins - piano
Neil Charles - bass
Stephen Davis - drums

Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by Jon Rosenberg

Produced by Anthony Braxton
Release Production by Kyoko Kitamura and Carl Testa for The Tri-Centric Foundation

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