Legendary saxophonist and composer Anthony Braxton releases the first saxophone duet recording of two ghost trance compositions. Braxton is joined by Toronto saxophonist Kyle Brenders in this double cd studio recording.

"To call a musical duet a "dialogue" implies that the music functions the way language does. The comparison is particularly tempting in the case of Anthony's music and the "language" types that are its building blocks. Any comparison here, however, has little to do with the well-worn paths of call-and-response that may remind us superficially of conversation. It's better, perhaps, to think of duet music in general as a historical language and of Anthony's pieces as a beautifully original dialect in which to say what he and Kyle need to say, to each other and – thankfully – to us."

Scott Thomson, October 2008.
Disc one, Composition 199 (47:55)
Disc two, Composition 356 (45:47)

All Compositions by Anthony Braxton 
Braxton publishing (Synthesis Music BMI)

Anthony Braxton: Sopranino, Soprano, Alto Saxophone
Kyle Brenders: Clarinet, Soprano and Tenor Saxophone

Produced by Jean Martin and Kyle Brenders
2008 Barnyard Records

Recorded September 8 2007,  by Jeff McMurrich
@  The Orange Lounge , Toronto ON.
Mastered by: Jean Martin @ The Farm
Photos and art by Jean Martin

Anthony Braxton / Kyle Brenders - Toronto Duets 2007
Revue By Glen Hall

It's common for young musicians to do projects of music by their heroes just to pick up the vibe and, maybe, some reflected validation. But saxophonist Kyle Brenders takes this gambit to a whole other level by recording compositions by his mentor, modernist visionary Anthony Braxton, with the man himself. Breathtakingly audacious, yes, but when listening to this 93-minute, two-CD release it becomes apparent that the twosome are technically well-matched. This balanced pairing perform two of Braxton's uniquely imaginative pieces with energy, precision and creativity. Long composed parts are executed with vigour, yielding to improvised sections that flow logically from the preceding notated materials. And it's the improv sections where Brenders shows he is thoroughly equipped to lock horns with the master on his turf and at his level. By turns, the pair act as foils/accompanists for one another, finishing phrases and inspiring and/or goading each other to further heights. Recommended. (Barnyard)
lundi 26 janvier 2009
Anthony Braxton, Kyle Brenders: Toronto (duets) 2007 (Barnyard - 2008)

En 2007, donnant concert ŕ Toronto en compagnie de Kyle Brenders, clarinettiste et saxophoniste de l’endroit, Anthony Braxton soignait deux de ses compositions : progressions par paliers imposées d’abord ŕ l’unisson par deux saxophones puis plus ou moins abandonnées selon les trajectoires d’évolutions instrumentales indépendantes.

De notes longues tenues ensemble en inspirations accommodées – ici et lŕ, quelques échanges récréatifs –, Braxton et Brenders passent de soprano en alto et de clarinette en ténor avec suffisamment d’aisance pour que l’enregistrement soit bientôt soupçonné d’infaillibilité. A la réécoute, le fait est avéré ; or, voici qu’il doit faire avec un bémol (troublant pour l’amateur attentif et dévastateur pour le néophyte) : la comparaison avec les grandes références de la discographie pléthorique d’Anthony Braxton. 

Anthony Braxton and Kyle Brenders — Toronto (Duets) 2007
Revue - KZSU-FM, Stanford University

Braxton’s Ghost Trance Music is like a brick wall, and to some listeners probably just as opaque. Seemingly endless matrices of nonrepeating pokes and stabs, one clearly discrete note after another, makes for an abstract kind of march that really stands out when, say, played during a radio show. Everything slams to a halt while the beat pulses on.

There’s a lot going on under the surface, though, and a listen to the full 30- or even 90-minute pieces on Rastascan’s Six Compositions (GTM) 2001 reveals passages of passionate, jazzy soloing and playful individual improv. You can lose yourself wandering the magnetic fields of the pulse.

But that’s with 10 players; how does GTM translate to just two? It turns out, those freer moments stand out even more, as Braxton and Brenders work through lots of mood changes. They’ll play in composed unison for a minute or two — rigid, then free, then fast, then a slow break then fast again … and then shift into “soloing,” or at least a looser, improv-spiced passage. Moods and speeds can change every couple of minutes. It’s like a series of tricks joined together with brief improv periods, and it can be engrossing.

Toronto (Duets) is a 2-CD set, one composition per CD. Disk 1 is noticeably faster and perkier overall, but Disk 2 is equally rewarding, with some nice gentle improvising in the quieter spaces.

Anthony Braxton & Kyle Brenders - Toronto (Duets) 2007

Poczatek nowego roku, tuz po ogloszeniu dorocznych zestawien najlepszych, czy najbardziej ulubionych plyt, bywa dla recenzentów okresem trudnym. Otóz bowiem w nasze rece czesto wpadaja wtedy plyty wydane tuz pod koniec roku poprzedniego, czesto naprawde udane, które nie zdazyly zalapac sie na listy rankingowe. I cala zabawa, tak barwnie podsumowana w komentarzu AEG, bierze w leb.

Czas zatem, by oglosic pierwsza wielka plyte roku 2008, która na doroczny ranking nie zalapala sie z powodu konwencji kalendarza. Duet Anthony'ego Braxtona z mlodym, wielce obiecujacym saksofonista z Kanady, Kyle'em Brendersem, nagrany w Toronto póznym latem 2007, na takie miano zasluguje bezwzglednie.

Koncepcja Ghost Trance Music, to jeden z najwazniejszych wkladów Anthony'ego Braxtona do historii muzyki wspólczesnej. Powstala i rozwijana byla glównie w drugiej polowie ubieglej dekady i na poczatku biezacej. Nie miejsce tu i czas, by wylozyc te - skadinad - bardzo ciekawa teorie. Byc moze przyjdzie na to czas niebawem.

Muzyka GTM prezentowana byla przez Braxtona w bardzo róznych skladach personalnych - od kwartetu poczawszy, na duzych skladach skonczywszy. Nigdy wszakze nie byla grana jedynie w skladzie dwuosobowym. Omawiany podwójny dysk z Toronto, prezentuje dwie kompozycje Braxtona zagrane wlasnie w duecie wedle modly Muzyki Duchowego Transu. Kompozycja 199, a zatem juz dosc wiekowa i Kompozycja 356, czyli raczej dosc swieza. Dyskografia www.restructures.net zawiera pelne zestawienie wszystkich kompozycji Braxtona, ze wskazaniem na konkretne ich wykonania - odsylam zatem pospiesznie wszystkich zainteresowanych szczególami.

Anthony Braxton (sss, ss, as) - kanal prawy i Kyle Brenders (cl, ss, ts) - kanal lewy. GTM, czyli rytm, jako baza do muzycznych eksploracji. Uciekamy w niebanalna sonorystyke, ale rytm nie pozwala uciec nam definitywnie. Zawsze wracamy. Dialogi saksofonistów sa chwilami bardzo zadziorne, by - zwlaszcza na drugim dysku - popadac w urocza free jazzowa melancholie (i wtedy robi sie najpiekniej). Muzycy sluchaja sie bardzo wnikliwie, wiele jest tu ciekawych interakcji, a proponowane sciezki improwizacji bywaja naturalna konsekwencja zagran interlokutora. Czas plynie bardzo demokratycznie. Uwaga na Brendersa - w roli improwizatora nie ustepuje Mistrzowi. Dodatkowym smaczkiem nagrania jest piekne brzmienie saksofonu tenorowego, rzadkiego w muzyce Braxtona instrumentu (on sam na nim, jak wiadomo, nie grywa, a i wsród wspólpracowników ten deciak nie pojawia sie zbyt czesto).

Blisko 100 minut wspanialej podrózy po sferach muzycznej podswiadomosci... Udane intro kolejnego szalonego roku wspólczesnej muzyki improwizowanej.

Andrzej Nowak

Toronto (duets) 2007
Anthony Braxton / Kyle Brenders | Barnyard Records (2008)
By Mark Corroto / All About Jazz       

Want more Anthony Braxton Ghost Trance Music (GTM)? Yes please. Following recent releases of 12+1tet's 9 Compositions (Iridium) 2006 (Firehouse 12, 2007), Nine Compositions (DVD) 2003 (Rastascan, 2008) and Quartet (GTM) 2006 (Important, 2008), this two-disc outing of GTM is paired down to simply (is anything ever simple with Braxton?) saxophone duets.
Fans of Braxton and his GTM surely will recognize the format. For the uninitiated, paraphrasing Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's characterization of pornography fits best: "I shall not attempt define it, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it." Same with GTM, as explained by Braxton himself; it's music with no beginning and no end. And like a flowing river, it's impossible to step into the same GTM song twice (apologies to Heraclitus).

This trimmed GTM format cuts to the essence of the music. Braxton is joined by Canadian saxophonist Kyle Brenders, a student at Wesleyan University where Braxton teaches, who at times seems to be a cross between Evan Parker and Steve Lacy. Braxton and Brenders skate together through the composed themes, which can be both hypnotic and, at times, a source of vertigo. The tension accumulates when each accompanies the other or plays off the other's improvisation. Like other like-minded disciples of the Braxton system such as hornist Taylor Ho Bynum, guitarist Mary Halvorson, or saxophonist Steve Lehman, Brenders clearly has a bright future in music. The discipline and freedom within this system is quite impressive.

These two lengthy compositions are valued additions to the Ghost Trance Music mystique. The charm and allure of this music may be its defining of a sound with no beginning and, hopefully, no end.

Toronto (duets) 2007
Anthony Braxton / Kyle Brenders | Barnyard Records (2008)
Mike Heffley / Signal To Noise Magazine 

...Duets is a pick up game of hoops, punctuated by placid spells of nearby off-the-pier fishing....
Braxton, Anthony/Brenders, Kyle
Toronto (Duets) 2007
Barnyard br0308 2008
All Music Guide

Anthony Braxton has always been willing to record with his most promising students, and Kyle Brenders is definitely one of them. The young Canadian sax player had just completed his Master's degree at Wesleyan University when this session was recorded, on September 8, 2007, the day after Braxton performed with the AIMToronto Orchestra (a concert released in 2008 by the Canadian label Spool as Creative Orchestra (Guelph) 2007). Brenders is that orchestra's artistic director, and he has also played in Braxton's Sextet and Diamond Curtain Wall Trio, although his participation in these units has yet to be recorded (as of early 2009). Toronto (Duets) 2007 is a double-CD set featuring two of Braxton's "Ghost Trance Music" compositions, selected at the very beginning and very end of the series. This seems to be the premiere recording of "Composition 199," a piece dating back to early before Braxton's Ninetet's famous residency at Yoshi's in 1997. It starts with near-martial staccato eight notes, then alternates between these entrancing eight-note motifs and sweeter, freer, almost romantic sections (with a particularly beautiful melody around the ten-minute mark). "Composition 356" was premiered during Braxton's Tentet's residency at the Iridium in 2006 (and appears on the box set 9 Compositions (Iridium) 2006). The music here is a lot more supple, the eight-note pulse all but disappearing in favor of graceful arabesques and circumvolutions around thematic material. Braxton and Brenders have an excellent rapport, and they share a very similar tone, a fact enhanced by the similar range of instruments they play (sopranino, soprano, and alto sax for the teacher; clarinet, soprano and tenor sax for the student). Braxton's "Ghost Trance Music" compositions can often give the impression that they strongly rely on the parallel narratives the players are allowed to develop (through the interpolation of second-level and third-level compositions), but this recording of two of Braxton's ensemble pieces stripped down to duets will remind you of how complex and complete they can sound with only two players.

François Couture

TORONTO (duets) 2007
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