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Anthony Braxton: Trio (Victoriaville) 2007

The cover of Trio (Victoriaville) 2007 offers an interesting analysis of Anthony Braxton. As he blows his bass saxophone, his contrabass sax towers in the background next to its baritone counterpoint. The framing of the photo makes it look as if the mouthpiece of the former, gargantuan instrument is attached to the back of Braxton’s head, ready to bring sound to his next project. Considering his recent outpouring of work, including these two performances at last year’s Victoriaville Festival, the attachment makes sense.

Although the composer receives credit on the cover, the liner notes state his smaller group goes by the name Diamond Curtain Wall Trio. Guitarist Mary Halvorson and multi-brass player Taylor Ho Bynum join Braxton, who plays every saxophone in the family except tenor. The performance also marks his first excursion with laptop and electronics. On the first couple listens to the 59-minute “Composition No 323c,” it sounds more like a lengthy free improvisation, with direction coming arbitrarily. The way Braxton switches saxes so rapidly seems like an effort to get them all into the piece.

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