Wadada Leo Smith -
Anthony Braxton - reeds
Wadada Leo Smith & Anthony Braxton
and Smith's musical relationship began in 1960s Chicago in the
early days of the Association for the Advancement of Creative
Since then their paths have crossed infrequently (at least on
their mutual admiration has remained strong.
Despite differing approaches, both men have seen themselves
as composers as much as improvisers, devoted to Boulez and Stockhausen
as much as to Charlie Parker or John Coltrane. It's a stance
which has seen Braxton in
particular marginalised by critics and fellow musicians alike,
viewed such aspirations with suspicion. Interestingly, such
have never seemed to be a problem for white jazz musicians...
Recorded live at New York's Tonic club, Organic Resonance is
spare stuff from just a trumpet and saxophone. It's possible
to follow the
compositional threads and really immerse yourself in the improvised
dialogues; sometimes knotty, sometimes tender, sometimes furiously
Very broadly speaking Smith opts for bold, vivid strokes of
while Braxton's compositions 314 and 315 (complete with their
graphics of course) are pointillist, urgent investigations of
interrelationships. In reality it's much more complex than that,
hopefully you get the picture.
What struck me most strongly on my third or fourth listen was
intimate, warm and beautiful this music is; it's almost as if
once shocking and confrontational forty years ago (Braxton remembers
audience in Paris throwing rocks) is now familiar, almost reassuring.
hope that Braxton and Smith would take that as a compliment
and as a sign that maybe, at last, their audience is catching
up with them.
- Peter Marsh
© 1997-2011 Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith