Anthony Braxton

Charlie Parker Project 1993

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On this double CD the innovative altoist Anthony Braxton (who also plays a bit of his sopranino and the remarkable contrabass clarinet) interprets 13 bebop songs (two taken twice), 11 of which were composed by Charlie Parker. However, do not mistake these performances (which are comprised of both a studio session and a club set) with the type of music often played by the Young Lions. In fact, those listeners who consider themselves bop purists are advised to look elsewhere. Performing with an adventurous sextet that also includes Ari Brown on tenor and soprano, trumpeter Paul Smoker, pianist Misha Mengelberg (the most consistently impressive of the supporting cast), bassist Joe Fonda, and either Han Bennink or Pheeroan AkLaff on drums, Braxton uses the melodies and some of the original structures of such tunes as "Hot House," "Night in Tunisia," "Bebop," and "Ko Ko" as the basis for colorful and often-stunning improvisations. He does not feel restricted to the old boundaries of the 1940s and '50s, preferring to pay tribute to the spirit and chance-taking of Charlie Parker rather than to merely recreate the past. The passionate and unpredictable results are quite stimulating and full of surprises, fresh ideas and wit. It's highly recommended to those jazz followers who have very open ears.

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