Anthony Braxton

Victoriaville 1988

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Recorded live at the Festival Musique de Actuel in Quebec, Anthony Braxton's Victoriaville 1988 features a star-studded, avant-garde jazz ensemble, including tenor saxophonist Evan Parker, trombonist George Lewis, trumpeter Paul Smoker, drummer Gerry Hemingway, vibraphonist Bobby Naughton, and bassist Joëlle Léandre. Braxton's lengthy "Composition No. 141 (+20+96+120D)" opens the set in Schoenbergian fashion, sporting knotty, expressionistic arrangements and plenty of inspired unison and solo improvisation for balance; in spite of its sprawling structure, the solid and empathetic rhythm section keeps the piece running smoothly. The other ensemble members make quality contributions as well, with Smoker's humorous, muted trumpet work and Lewis' fervid trombone solos standing out in particular. The shorter "Composition No. 142" closes the performance with an intriguing mix of frenetic and languid group improvisation. A top-notch Braxton release.

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