Anthony Braxton quartet
Standards (Brussels) 2006
6 cds Box-set
Anthony Braxton ‘s periodical incursions in standards repertory are always a new way to think classical structures. His style is immediately clear: pixeling notes, sudden fastness, stretched sentences. A live recording with all the freshness one needs to be in deep touch with creativity and joyous interplay. Italian partners provide a vivid sustain, an evocative tone palette, a great rythmic support and sincere brilliant solos.
An elegant cartboard 6 cds box (a Decca style) including a 26 pages booklet with three little essays by italian poet and writer Erika Dagnino.
- - “Positions for listening”
- - “Real space and dislocation”,
- - “A possible anthropogony”)
Detailed bios and quotes by featured musicians and a prefaction by co-producer Gianni Mimmo of Amirani records.
CREDITS: Anthony Braxton: saxophone | Alessandro Giachero: piano | Antonio Borghini: double bass | Cristiano Calcagnile: drums
Recording _ 23-26 november 2006 LIVE at PP Café, Brussels, Belgium. sound engineer _ Michael Huon . mastering _ Jon Rosenberg. liner notes _ Erika Dagnino. translation _ Marco Bertoli. cover photo _ Agua Mimmo. inside photos _ Valentina Medda (Anthony Braxton), Elda Papa (Cristiano Calcagnile), Massimiliano Cobianchi (Antonio Borghini), Unknown (Alessandro Giachero). concept _ Gianni Mimmo. production _ Anthony Braxton and Gianni Mimmo for Amirani Records
Thanks to Marco Bertoli, Massimo Caviglione, Gennaro Fucile, Alessandro Achilli, Claudio Romano for their precious support. Each cd comes in a cardboard envelope.
79 EURO incl. shipment cost world-wide
cd 1: -FOREST FLOWER(Charles Llooyd) -IT’S YOU OR NO ONE (j.Styne) -DARN THAT DREAM (Van Heusen) -improvisation n.1 -VERY EARLY (Evans) -IF I SHOULD LODE YOU (Robin /Ranger)
Download listen to Improvisation No. One
cd 2: -VIRGO (take 2) (Shorter) -EMBARCADERO (Desmond) -NIGHT DREAMER (Shorter) -IT NEVER ENTERED MY MIND (Rodgers/Hart) -FINE AND DANDY (James/Swift) -MONK’S MOOD (Monk)
Download listen to Monk’s Mood
cd3: -THREE LITTLE WORDS (Ruby) -WAVE (Jobim) -RUBY MY DEAR (Monk) -MEAN TO ME (Waller) -AFTERNOON IN PARIS (Lewis) -WHAT’S NEW (Haggart)
Download listen to What’s New
cd4: -ALICE IN WONDERLAND ( F-ain/Hilliard) -AH LEU CHA (Parker) -FOR ALL WE KNOW ( Coots) -Improvisation n0.2 -TADD’S DELIGTH (Dameron) -ALL OF YOU (Porter)
Download listen to Improvisation No. Two
cd5: -I’M OLD FASHIONED (Kern) -EXX-THETICS (Russell) -HOW LITTLE WE KNOW (Springer/Leigh) -OUT TO LUNCH (Dolphy) -EARLY AUTUMN (Herman) -STAR EYES (De Paul)
Download listen to Out To Lunch
cd6: -ISRAEL (Carisi) -THESE FOOLISH THINGS (Strachey/Link/Marvell) -Improvisation no.3 -STRIKE UP THE BAND (Gershwin) -YOU’RE MY THRILL ((Clare/Gorney) -VIRGO (take 1) (Shorter)
Download listen to These Foolish Things
79 EURO incl. shipment cost world-wide
Since the beginning of his solo career, Anthony Braxton apparently needs to move back to a more traditional environment, starting with “In The Tradition” in 1974, yet I have the impression that his standards releases are increasing over the years, especially in this century, but possibly in equal proportion to the rest of his impossible-to-keep-up-with output, with releases such as”8 Standards Wesleyan”, “20 Standards (quartet) 2003″ album, the “23 Standards” album, there’s now “Standards (Brussels) 2006″, a nice 6-CD box with a 20-page booklet with texts by Italian author Erika Dagnino. The concept of a “standard” is also flexible in Braxton’s mind apparently, with pieces such as Charles Lloyd “Forest Flower” and George Russell’s “Exx-Tethic” also falling into the category. The original performance captured in this box was played on four consecutive nights in a Brussels bar, with an Italian trio consisting of Alessandro Giachero on piano, Antonio Borghini on bass and Cristiano Calcagnile on drums.
The repertoire has pieces by Gershwin, Fats Waller, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, … with a totally different play-list for each evening. Sure, it is mainstream, the music flows along quite smoothly, post-boppish, with the three Italian musicians doing an excellent job, and Braxton plays along, he is possibly the one going the most outside the compositions, yet not too often, and – to his credit – he lets his band-members lots of space for soloing. The audience is fully involved, quietly listening, and applauding and reacting nicely. The best tracks are the ones on which the band turns the standard inside out, literally then, as on “Ezz-Tethic”, which, after the bass solo, moves into eery avant-garde territory, first getting rid of rhythm and harmonics, then re-building it with a hypnotic piano phrase and great sax-playing by Braxton.
I am not too sure whether the sequence of the tracks on the CDs correspond to the performance itself, but it is clear that on discs 5 and 6, the band seems to be more tuned to one another, which creates more possibilities for a broader freedom of approach. The “standard” still gets usual mainstream attention till halfway down the piece, and usually after the piano solo, for a second, free-er version to start, yet again ending in the main theme. The Gerschwin brothers would possibly have a hard time recognizing the second part of their “Strike Up The Band”, a track on which also Giachero turns wild. Throughout the sets Braxton’s alto gives a light, shimmering atmosphere to the music, which is further reinforced by the subtlety of touch of the accompanying trio. This is music which sounds relax at moments, intense at others, structured and free, played by a band that clearly enjoys the music they’re playing as much as how they can make it their own.
One downside of the box is that, even if the performance was recorded live, some tracks end in fade-outs, leaving the somewhat frustrating feeling that there is no reaction from the audience, but that’s just a minor comment on an otherwise impeccable set with excellent sound quality. Stef Gjissels, freejazz-stef.blogspot.com, december 08
ANTHONY BRAXTON QUARTET - Standards (Brussels) 2008 [6 CD set] (Amirani 14; Italy) Packaged in an elegant cartboard box (a decca style) which includes a 26 page booklet with three little essays (Positions for listening, Real space and dislocation, A possible anthropogony) by Italian poet and writer Erika Dagnino. Featuring Anthony Braxton on alto sax, Alessandro Giachero on piano, Antonio Borghini on double bass and Cristiano Calcagnile on drums. Recorded live November 23-26 2006 at P P Cafe in Brussels, Belgium. Although I didn’t initially recognize the names of the three Italian musicians that Mr. Braxton has chosen to play with, each comes from a diverse background of collaborations. Pianist Alessandro Giachero is a member of William Parker’s Italian Qt with Hamid Drake. Bassist Antonio Borghini is a member of the Bassesfere collective, as well as working with David Murray, Butch Morris, Ab Baars and Mary Halvorson. Drummer, Cristiano Calcagnile, is also a member of Bassesfere and has played with Damo Suzuki, Daniee D’Agaro, Rova Sax Qt and Tristan Honsinger.
This fine quartet covers some 34 standards, as well as a couple of group improvisations. The selection of standards runs from Broadway show tunes like “I’m Old Fashioned”, to “These Foolish Things” to “It’s You or No One” to more modern gems by Monk, “Monk’s Mood” and “Ruby My Dear”, Wayne Shorter, “Night Dreamer” and “Virgo” and even Eric Dolphy “Out to Lunch”. All composers that cast a long shadow of influence on modern jazz and certainly not east songs to cover. The first discs opens with Charles Lloyd’s “Forest Flower” from perhaps the most popular of Charles Lloyd’s sixties albums. It is a lovely song and Braxton makes it his own with a long, distinctive and spirited alto sax solo while Alessandro plays some exquisite piano. The rhythm team is consistently creative, swings hard and keeping a buoyant balance underneath each soloist. Alessandro Giachero is a fabulous pianist and takes one great solo after another on every one of these tunes he is featured on. I dig the way the rhythm team keeps Mr. Braxton on his toes by tightly supporting him wherever he goes. Even on the ballads, which Braxton often plays with in a straight forward fashion, he also injects subtle and sly twists to keeps things interesting. There are three group improvisations which are all great and show another, freer side to this amazing quartet. So far, I’ve listened to three of the six discs and will check out the last three tonight. Considering that this six disc box set is over six hours long, it is a most impressive excursion into Braxton’s unique way of interpreting standards with a super quartet of well-selected collaborators. Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, NYC, december 08
Once again it is time for a review of another release with the brilliant saxofonist Anthony Braxton. Anthony Braxton plays, as always magnifficient on his alto saxophone, and this time he joins forces with three Italian musicians: Alessandro Giachero on piano, Antonio Borghini on bass and Cristiano Calcagnile on drums, here caught alive on 23-26 November 2006 at PP Cafe in Brussels, Belgium. This 6 CD box with a total playing time of more than 6 hours, contains of 36 tracks – 33 standards and 3 free improvisation and a 26-page booklet with interesting and informative notes by the Italian poet and writer Erika Dagnino. The material here presented are by as different composers as Charles Lloyd, Bill Evans, Wayne Shorter, Thelonious Monk, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Fats Waller, Charlie Parker, Cole Porter and Eric Dolphy. These interpretations of old familiar songs, is an impressive insight and introduction to the way that Braxton interprets standards on.
The three Italian musicians are doing a fantastic job, and is the perfect playmates for Braxton and his saxophone. Braxton goes in front as the natural leading figure, but provides plenty of room to the other musicians in various solos and improvisations. Braxton plays as always a lively and committed saxophone, and it is clear to the listener that is a unique musicians with complete track of what this is all about – the music. Alessandro is a very skilled pianist, takes the lead (in a good way) in one number after another, giving the numbers his own personal touch. Borghini and Calcagnile lies as the ultimate backing group, supporting the others with their tight and close playing on the bass and drums. The well-known numbers are drawn through the Braxton machine, turned so much inside out, that it sometimes is difficult to recognize the originals, as they are presented in their most free way sending chills down your back. This boxset is the most jazzy release, from the small Italian company Amirani Records, which so far has released more twisted and advandtgarde things, less accessible if you like, as is the case here. Henrik Kaldahl, Jazznet Denmark, January 09
ANTHONY BRAXTON QUARTET. STANDARDS – BRUSSELS – 2006
(Translation by Marco Bertoli)
Invisible, as Music –
But Positive, as Sound –
E. Dickinson, Poems
POSITIONS FOR LISTENING.
In the proceedings of any art performance, the position of the listener / watcher (assuming she / he is unconditionally involved in the experience) does increment / intersecate / compenetrate the position of the performing artist on a perceptive standpoint, without either of them losing their own individuality. Perception is here a spur to move over, to push the horizon farther; a mean to associate ideas, to prime all the senses. On the other hand, perception might come off – to a certain kind of listener, or in certain times of her / his life – as nothing but evidence of nothing being there beyond her / his own senses, her / his own self. What we are dealing with here is an actual frailty, as much unavoidable as it is hypothetical, where senses are, at once, vehicle and limit of transcendence, and transcendence is the very shadow, poetical and musical, inside the artwork and what the artwork hints at. Therefore, we are faced with different settings of perception, as much possible as never real, where the subject exceeds the sum of her / his own gestures and ends up reacting – being an interaction of fragments witholding an inexorable quantum of spirituality, a natural unity. If artist and audience are one in the form of subject, then we cannot rule out a whole and implicit range of undertones, overlapping and repeating.
In an old Irish folk tale, a sentry gets so absorbed in his task of watching to the effect that “his eyes narrowed and became pin-points, and he ceased to be a man and became an optic” . That is, the person in its entirety is pared down to a perception, actually nothing more than one sense, a total sense which takes over both dimensions, psychic and physical, of the subject. Let’s now try and apply this peculiar effect to the artistic process: to what extent does it command attention? Or else, in spite of it being a form of hypnosis which leads to empathy through detachment, appealing to intellective as well as emotional faculties: might it allow for a sort of estrangement?
Granted, when the senses kick into the performance setting, they break the subject down into its immediate fruition/creation, and the subject, in turn, splinters in many micro-segments (as it were). Anyway, it is the inner recomposition of the work of art as a whole to allow for a global reassumption, beyond the very limits of disseminated feelings along with the body itself, but also as a combination of segments mutually subdivided and independents for the listener/watcher as well as for the performing musician. Let’s delve further down into the musician’s zone, considering a musical instrument whose sound emissions do not flow univocally. Contemporary American drummer Donald Robinson mused about the peculiar physical demand (be it in a live performance or in a recording session) of this instrument to its player: to disseminate her/himself all over its several parts. Is the artist ever overcome by a sense of dispersion of her/his body, of his/her limbs as though they were separated by the rest of his body, at the same time functioning in perfect autonomy? How is it possible to go back to a “global reassumption”? “All drummers have to practice what is known as ‘independence’: their aim is to create different rhythm patterns using different limbs, keeping their bodies centered nonetheless. The drummer succeeds when he doesn’t lose track of the starting point, that is the point where the pattern or the idea first sprung. Improvisations proper often need to be cut down into segments and worked out in advance. Therefore, here is the question: where, when and why we use certain patterns, ideas or improvisations? To me, all this and then some is what makes playing drums so exciting” .
Let’s reconsider for a minute the concept of elsewhere. Elsewhere is where music poses itself in relation to reality; but we can also imagine a journey to elsewhere, both as nature and as direction. The dimension of the journey may at times prove itself impossible to the subjectivity of some people. Think of Samuel Beckett’s novel Mercier et Camier: writing is the only elsewhere, the only connection, and not in a geographical sense. It is rather like drawing circles around oneself and one’s journey – but, philosophy and the old diatribe realism vs idealism aside, we wonder if the negotiation of senses eventually is the only possible journey for both musician and listener. Might music, whose semiotic action passes through our senses, take us elsewhere, its nature hinting spontaneously to another dimension? According to Swedish composer-saxophonist-flutist Biggi Vinkeloe, senses trigger a synaesthesia: “You can use any sense for listening; you can try and hear, feel, smell music and let the sound speak to your imagination… We can also open up our mind and discover ‘new territories’: music can be very visionary, too” . And again, talking about matching different sense in performance: “I remember events, colors, sounds, movements, words, emotions and trying to turn them in to tones, intervals, melodies, sound, rhythm patterns” .
REAL SPACE AND DISLOCATION.
The aesthetic signature of my music system is “navigation through form”.
A. Braxton, Thoughts
The theme I choose to start from must be powerful but simple and bright in its own mysterious way. Then I proceed to inhabit it as if my home. A home with rooms and windows and flights of stairs and dark corners and sudden flashes of light.
While and after listening to these 6 CDs by the Anthony Braxton Quartet, at the same time summoning the antithesis between dislocation and architecture, we find ourselves considering the matching of space and dislocation, movement and architecture, concurring on a certain level. Architecture evokes something firm and solid; a meaningful construction, both literally and metaphorically, possibly fantastic but never arbitrary (not to mention the instance of moveable architectures, continuously reshaping themselves as if built in smoke). How can we settle the antithesis of dislocation and architecture, boiling it down to the sign/shape > sound/shape association ?
Take, for instance, Brussels 2006, where the sound object is concerned with an improvisational act used as compositional device: “Improvisation demands creative responsibility: the sense of form, knowledge or ability to spot contents susceptible of development; and social responsibility, in due respect for the shared musical and gestual space. Given these conditions, improvisation can turn into a composition of sort” . Here, musicians and audience, each one on their own terms (let’s not forget it), are crossing the common territory of standards, the buzz, lines, surfaces of an almost worn-out songbook, jazz repertoire par excellence, at once a homecoming and a continuity re the African-American roots and their aesthetical canon .
This much said, “standards”, as the seat of tradition and sharing, show the form and texture of a space which is room, house, home; whose lines, surfaces, volumes, shadows, reflections hold no secrets because of a long-standing habit. An ambient for playing and to play with in any possible fashion, be it known or unknown.
This house (or room), confined and confining, opens onto the outer world. An expansion of reality into constraint, it makes itself available to intrusions. Stillness inside and otherness outside (and forcing its way in), achieve a balance, a creative contribution though this dialectic in/out, which is only apparent. The house-room represents a space as more protective as it is familiar, but can easily turn into a trap, triggering claustrophobia anytime something feels about to happen, prompting for a reaction. Now, music doesn’t elicit quite the same kind of response, while intrinsically referring to the other, for instance to flight. Finding oneself confined into a closed space may feel uneasy, “Loathing your room’s walls / Red poppies running away in your eyes” , even more so if what is best known – the place – can at once expand and coerce. Coercion is what gives expansion its momentum and allows for unease to be turned into an affirmative move, tapping into unexpected resources, more problems, solution, or at least attempt at solution, to move further from the state of things; an action imagined and nonetheless real, with all the reality of the domain of perception.
The standards have space and volumes long practiced and familiar. But various are the ways we can inhabit them: we can cut corners and push through passages, slide along walls, summoning people from the outside in, maybe having them jump over a wall or break into a window or knock down a door. Or, as if in a labyrinth (not unknown yet), a place of many openings and countless open doors: “Come on in” ; “There is not one lock” . A labyrinth which is not an unescapable maze, but a matrix of non-closures. Or yet, an everchanging, narrow room; everchanging the way perception is bound to be, even within its limited number of walls and viable passages. Narrow space in constant expansion along a forced direction, reminding the different and changing perceptive position of a musician called up to action. What is small becomes large. Tight corners acting on the multifaceted amplification of (re)action . A space tridimensional, whose depth never flattens, a hall of mirrors, itself a mirror or else a tridimensional shadow of more walls, more corners, more floors, “dark reflections in dull mirrors” .
Entering the space, playing the space, playing a role within the space. Room. Playing the room: this is how Anthony Braxton spurs his musicians towards the interaction of music and perception. The fixed place (?) becomes a passage, pointing to something else, reformulating that everlasting of questions, the one about the physical element belonging to the habitat of the perceptive data; of music, this plastic sound-shape. We take here the liberty to rationally surmise (and intuitively feel) that the container’s and the content’s edges move like solids within a liquid zone, or take on a kind of liquid substance inside their own solid constitution. A spurious solidity; egg yolk, albumen getting stringy in touching a surface.
A POSSIBLE ANTROPOGONY?
Emerging from the source, the physical reality in its optical and auditive dimensions (form, but sign too, as such going straight for the eyes; a sort of outer facies, external connotation appearing inside and through the sound) develops, undergoes, manifests its own ‘ornament’. Furthermore, form has a natural understanding of movement notwithstanding its gravitation to a center which saves a place for the antithesis of movement and quiet. An ongoing state of flux stands, condition and springboard for a further move toward his other potential, even when revisiting old pathways, familiar zones.
Sign and sight appear unarguably to be structural components in the realm of navigation, too. Navigation – as a sequence of events unfolding to the seer – is a journey at once of sense and soul. The navigators can explore any inner movement, be it forward or backward, within themselves; they can claim those movements their own by the concrete aid of senses. This aid means isolation but not as in lack of direction or communication. Rather, isolation as hub of and passage to further interconnections under the unerring action of sight. Sight being informed by subjectivity, as such individual; sight being informed by multiplicity, as such plural; an analytical-conservative power aimed to transfer and transmutate shapes, generating a totality and belonging to it as sum of parts; continuity of successions in existence and co-existence.
A community, part of a superior cosmic unity, working inside a changing and moving system (organized, even), where single entities expand and shrink, redefining themselves by way of visible attributes, each one within its own profile; physical shapes, visible as they appear in Hildegard von Bingen’s words. Individual, plural activity. Collectivity and permeation where individual action sticks mainly to the perceptive movement whose nature shares both worlds; individual answer to a single message, individual answer to a collective one.
What follows this physiological procedure is the filtered reaction-(re)emission of the input data; a channeling, making allowance for an orphic element (juxtaposed to the creative musical element), an antecedent of an undenied for of reflexive, rational elaboration. In this dialectic of emission/absorption/(re)emission is the representation of its very fluxes laid out as networks and nodes, pathways and passages. Cosmic unity (sort of a third unique body, vibrating and echoing water, archetypical conduit of visibility and vision, air) includes and authorizes occupation in form of body and motion – let’s not forget that feeling is, or leads to, acting spontaneously – , an inherently structuring, articulating, confirming discretion, unavoidable and simultaneous; poetic outlook and organizer; cue of many hearing referring to many visions. Coexistence as a sort of reflection and refraction within the third volumetric body, without loss of one’s own untangible singleness; display and animation of one’s own unique existence and perception: compenetrated, shared, namely crucial.
The concept of a “dream state” where the friendly experience moves inside of a world of sound / form to arrive at different destinations .
79 EURO incl. shipment cost world-wide
The development of creativity and the search for a personal “voice” are fundamental aspects in the field of artistic expression. The existential meaning of music cannot be separated from the spiritual growth of man as an individual or as a part of social and cultural communication. The recognition and exaltation of the singular qualities of an artist are pure vital energy for his growth, a renewal, which art ( in this case music ) truly needs. To be a part of and have a role in the development of an art form such as music for me, means to give sense to an artistic/spiritual search, each time finding a new direction without worrying about the final outcome but instead paying attention to the journey itself whether the path is known or unknown or by expanding on the unknown as an analysis of the artist himself.
My meeting and collaboration with Anthony Braxton has been essential in my artistic growth from a musical point of view as well as a human and psychological one. The choice of a repertory of standards may seem contradictory with the continuous search for new expression and a personal language but in reality it is incredibly coherent. To take possession of the material and the traditional repertory, to remodel and rethink it, is to search and give new meaning to that same material.
The energy and the artistic vitality of Braxton and his desire to measure himself against different types of repertories, while maintaining and even developing the artistic/expressive individuality of each of us, permits us to improvise in the most compete and ample meaning of the word through sound gestures from within the traditional musical forms with complete stylistic openness and without prior adhesion to a specific language.
Alessandro Giachero has studied both classical and jazz/avantgard music and composition in Italy (Alessandria, Florence and Siena Conservatories) and in England (Leeds College of Music). He studied also with Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Muhal Richard Abrams, William Parker and Stefano Battaglia. He leds different groups such as trios, quartet and an ensemble with a string quartet. He is a member of the Anthony Braxton Quartet and of the William Parker Italian Quartet with Hamid Drake. His discography includes recordings in trio, with Anthony Braxton, with the William Parker Italian Quartet and many other apparitions with the most important italian players.
He has performed around Europe (Belgium, France, England, Switzerland, Germany) as well as in America and Cuba. As a composer he approached the musical materials in different ways. In the last years, especially with his trio, he experiments both structered compositions and free improvisation. The idea behind the free improvisation in a group contest is to build a structure instantaneously and to develop it during the performance. Following his research, he starts to write small ideas based on musical parameters, such as sounds intervals or rhythms, and develop them during the performance, opening the form and creating a structure based on the original material. In other compositions the idea will move forward from that material and then will come back to that, creating a physical and psychological development of the music itself.
In another level he is writing for larger ensembles, such as the gruop with the string quartet, using contemporary compositional techniques, using the focus on the musical parameters, but with an emphasis on the writing, opening in some parts of the composition to open improvisation using the original materials. In this case the musical writing is much more complex, but it gives the ideas and the freedom to the musicians for their improvisations and for their approach to the music, to that particular composition and for their feelings inside the performance. As a performer, he has also developed improvised piano solo recitals, from small preludes to a long suite, to express himself from nothing to music and his development during the performance. This particular sphere is one of his main activity, during which he can explore the music without a pre-existing style or musical models, letting the music going out from himself, without preconceived, conditioning or limitations, pushing the music where can go naturally. Much more on Alessandro Giachero can be found here…
Recalling some of the presumably significant events of my musical career, I’d say that the paradox is a recurrent phenomenon: the necessity of a creative approach towards the instrumental technique, born during lessons with maestro Giannoni at the conservatory; the passion for composing learnt from the “anarchist” Tristan Honsinger; the ego-trap revealed by the “star” Hamid Drake; the awareness that the most important musicians in the world are your “neighbours”, an awareness which matured during the years spent dreaming of playing with anyone with a foreign surname. And now, the reconciliation with the jazz tradition brought about by……Anthony Braxton.
Upon deeper reflection, that which renders these events paradoxical isn’t their essence but our representation of them. The speed with which we must give and receive information nowadays imposes very light and schematic “formats”. In music, this has meant the reduction of musical analysis – and often of execution – to the aesthetics and emotional mechanism which this brings, or presumably brings. The jazz tradition, in the place where I grew up, always seemed to me to be a sort of self-satisfying inquisition, with the power to veto the music performed within this very community. The presumed custodians of this tradition appear to be the first victims of the misunderstanding that music is aesthetic and aesthetics mechanically generate emotion. Improvisation becomes a short-cut in the service of aesthetics. Is this not the most obvious break with tradition? When I asked Anthony the reason for this project on standards he replied: “I have a cyclical need to compare myself with these compositions to keep my creative ability of improvisation alive”. I found the answer satisfying through and through and……..”traditional”. The interpretation of music must be unalterably linked to improvisation. When this doesn’t occur, even the most solid and structured composition ceases to live. Throughout the years I have performed repertories which differed greatly from one another, and my respect for all composers, whichever method they adopt, consists in giving my own interpretation of the music, by improvising. Perhaps this is the reason for which deep-down I believe to belong to the tradition. This is the same approach of the extraordinary musicians with which I have been fortunate to grow (Domenico Caliri, Edoardo Marraffa, Libero Mureddu, Mirko Sabatini, Fabrizio Puglisi, Cristian Calcagnile, Cristiano De Fabritiis and many others) who have brought me to the source of this tradition. I have always thought, and now I know for certain, that Mr. Braxton is firmly at the centre of this source. Paradox?
Antonio Borghini, double bass player, born in Milano in 1977. ?He’s member of BASSESFERE collective and leads “MEMORIAL BARBECUE” octet.?He played and recorded among others with Anthony Braxton, Hamid Drake, David Murray, Han Bennink,Tristan Honsinger, Sean Bergin, Taylor Hobynum, Mary Halvorson, Mike Patton,Ab Baars,Butch Morris, Gianluca Petrella, Cristian Calcagnile,Stefano Bollani, Cristina Zavalloni, Gabriele Mirabassi,Michael White, Leena Conquest, Michael Thieke, Wolfgang Fuchs, Isako Hirukawa, Katy Duck,Luca Venitucci, Gianni Gebbia,Fabrizio Spera,Zeno de Rossi, Paolo Botti.
The idea of uniqueness in each one’s path in music, as in every other aspect of life, is a value that has had tremendous importance for me and has influenced my choices. I believe it is through difference in perception that man has looked for terms, gestures, languages in order to explain oneself to others. The urge of telling about oneself and oneself’s idea-feeling, of using oneself as a metaphor for the known and unknown universe, the responsibility of ‘being part’ of research through one’s perception and through asking oneself questions: these are the values I’m interested in developing through Art as this, I believe, is Art’s role. How to get there is part of the uniqueness I was mentioning before. The more interesting the path, the more interesting the result (if ever one is acheived). I think I want to tell my version of the story and outline my character through study and respect of all those who have preceded me, are contemporary to me and will follow. This is the principle my research has led me to: a principle of uniqueness related to the honesty with which one decides to express oneself and the constant effort to recreate it in studying and in the setup of performances. Having said this, the encounter with Anthony Braxton has been to me the revelation of an ancient magic formula, like a long and convoluted equation for which a solution is found, like a breath of pure vital energy. His life an infinite lesson, his music a precious testament, as precious as that of all those who have been able to ’see’ and synthesize, theorize and apply their own vision of the universe, their own idea of Art.
Photo by Elda Papa
Drummer and percussionist, Cristiano Calcagnile is mainly involved in experimental music and interested in connections among arts and musical languages. He has studied at the Milano Civic School with professors David Searcy, Jonathan Sculli, Mike Quinn and jazz drumming with teacher Enrico Lucchini. Awarded an European Community founded scholarship, he has studied with Ettore Fioravanti, Furio DiCastri, Stefano Zenni, Bruno Tommaso, Franco D’Andrea in Italian prestigious “Siena Jazz ” seminars. He has also studied Djembè with Lamine N’diaye Rose and attended stages with Andrew Cyrill, Francesco Sotgiu, Peter Kowald, Sabine Vogel.
He is a member of Bologna ( Italy) based Bassesfere collective www.bassesfere.com) and involved in musical partnerships with creative musicians from different areas as: Xabier Iriondo; Massimo Falascone; Damo Suzuky; Edoardo Marraffa; Monica Demuru; Tristan Honsinger; Daniele D’Agaro; Rova Saxophone Quartet; Gianluca Petrella; Stefano Bollani; Paolo Angeli; Cristina Zavalloni; Michael Thieke; Alberto Braida among the others.
He founded and composes for Chant, his own trio with Libero Mureddu (piano; clavichord; harmonium; pipe organ; electronics); Antonio Borghini (acustic & electric bass). He also played with: Wu Fei; Carla Kihlstedt; Sean Bergin; Tobias Delius; Ernst Glerum; Mark Feldman; ZU; Butch Morris; Mats Gustaffson; Ernst Reijseger; Steve Piccolo; Cristina Donà. Much more on Cristiano Calcagnile can be found here…
A writer and a poet, Erika Dagnino has contributed to literary and music magazines FertiLILInfe, Il Fiacre N.9, Quaderni d’Altri Tempi, SuonoSonda and the website musicboom.it.
She also worked with Italian avantgarde violin player Stefano Pastor, with English poet and musician Anthony Barnett, with American poet Mark Weber, and with various visual artists. Her poetry, fiction and drama appeared on various anthologies and have won her several awards. Among her latest works, Ru e Fro (novella), Cycles (multimedia, with S. Pastor) and Racconti dell’ombra (short stories). Much more on Erika Dagnino can be found here…
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