Anthony Braxton

Ten Compositions (Quartet) 2000

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The highly resourceful Anthony Braxton once again contributes an important recording in this original tribute to the compositions of unsung pianist Andrew Hill, who wrote most of the pieces on the album. The saxophonist uses an unusual combination of alto sax, guitar, bass, and drums to deliver the goods. While the piano is clearly missed, Kevin O'Neil proves himself a strong voice on guitar in what appears to be his recording debut, able to handle the quirky melodies and tough chord progressions with ease, and producing fluidly complex solos that are gracefully integrated. Braxton's surprisingly yet attractively thin voice on alto often sounds like a soprano sax, while his angular improvisations bring out the peculiarities in Hill's charts even more so than when the pianist performed them himself. Braxton seems a tad uncomfortable with some of the difficult melodies and sequences, but the upshot is solos almost completely devoid of cliché. Norton is a solid timekeeper, whatever the tempo; he knows how to stay out of the way and also when to kick and complement a line.

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