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Anthony Braxton: Quartet (Santa Cruz) 1993

Recorded at Santa Cruz’s Kuumbwa Jazz Center, this exhausting yet fascinating two-disc adventure transports the listener to a cubist realm of terse tonal manipulations, extreme volume dynamics, and controlled collective chaos. Although the ratio between dissonance and consonance will have the most diehard free jazz listener begging for 4/4 swing, the sometimes fanciful, sometimes foreboding interplay that Braxton cajoles with pianist Marilyn Crispell, bassist Mark Dresser and percussionist Gerry Hemingway will pique the curiosity of anyone with gusty ears and expansive imagination.

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