On the Record is a weekly column meant to round up details about new and pending recordings of interest to the new-music community: contemporary classical music and jazz, electronic and electroacoustic music, and idioms for which no clever genre name has been coined, on CD, vinyl LP, cassette, digital-only formats… you name it.
This list of upcoming release dates is culled from press releases, Amazon and other online record stores, social-media posts, and similar resources. Dates cited correspond to U.S. release of physical recordings where applicable, and are subject to change. These listings are not comprehensive—nor could they be! To submit a forthcoming recording for consideration, email information to email@example.com.
A New Base for Braxton on Bandcamp
From the release of his incendiary debut album, the unaccompanied For Alto, on Chicago’s Delmark label a half century ago this year, the maverick composer, multi-instrumentalist, and thinker Anthony Braxton has spread his voluminous recorded oeuvre across literally dozens of labels. Major labels like Arista and emergent upstart imprints alike benefitted from Braxton’s largesse, profile, and prolific output, the bulk of which appeared on the prominent European independent labels Hat Hut, Leo, and Black Saint.
Since 1995, however, most of Braxton’s core output has been issued on his own label, Braxton House, and its successor, New Braxton House. The latter – launched in 2011 and operated by the Tri-Centric Foundation, Braxton’s not-for-profit organization – functioned fully independently, with physical recordings and downloads alike produced and distributed in-house.
But in late January, New Braxton House made the leap to Bandcamp, the music-sales web platform of preference for hundreds of prominent and aspirant artists and labels, and counting. As of now, seven physical releases are available, along with a further 12 digital-only titles drawn from the original Braxton House and New Braxton House catalogs. Included among them is the mercurial maestro’s latest release: Sextet (Parker) 1993, a 11-CD set packaged in a handsomely minimalist box, with authoritative notes by renowned journalist Stuart Broomer. Scheduled for release on March 2, the set is available for pre-order now.
As the title indicates, Sextet (Parker) 1993 isn’t a new project, but rather a comprehensive expansion of a banner release issued by Hat Hut as Anthony Braxton’s Charlie Parker Project 1993. That two-CD set, originally released in 1995 and reissued in 2004, presented highlights from a European tour Braxton undertook in 1993, during which he concentrated on repertoire associated with a legendary forebear, the alto saxophonist and bebop pioneer Charlie Parker.
Characteristic of Braxton’s recurrent explorations of the historic jazz canon throughout his career, the leader treated Parker’s canon as the radical innovation it had been during its original era. Accordingly, he varied his interpretive approach not just from piece to piece, but also in repeated performances of the same piece. That fact, plus the superb band Braxton mustered for the tour – tenor and soprano saxophonist Ari Brown, trumpeter Paul Smoker, pianist Misha Mengelberg, bassist Joe Fonda, and Han Bennink and Pheeroan akLaff alternating on drums – makes what could have been an overstuffed wallow of a set into a source for continual surprise and delight.
In a telephone interview earlier this week, National Sawdust Log touched base with the composer, cornetist, and bandleader Taylor Ho Bynum – an invaluable Braxton collaborator for close to 20 years, and since 2010 executive director of the Tri-Centric Foundation – to learn more about the new release, the label’s transition, and its future plans.
NATIONAL SAWDUST LOG: What prompted New Braxton House to make the move to Bandcamp?
TAYLOR HO BYNUM: We’d been sort of a custom-built site for so long, and it just got to the point where as much as we’d loved having a subscriber base and doing it that way, it was crazy… the back end alone, both cost and time and security upgrades and all that kind of stuff was just getting crazy. It was overdue for us to transfer to a third-party platform. So we rebuilt the [Tri-Centric Foundation] site; we’re moving all the label stuff over to Bandcamp. And the Parker set is sort of the big-notice release to announce that changeover.
It’s taking a while to get everything up there. All of the physical products are available that have been released in the past, and by the end of the year we’ll have that whole back catalog of the New Braxton House and Braxton House releases.
And we’re planning some new ones, as well. We’ve got some exciting stuff coming up. We’ve just put out the Parker set – which is crazy. [Laughs] And then we’re partnering with [New Haven, CT venue and label] Firehouse 12 to release 12 hours’ worth of music – I think that rather than releasing it in a multi-disc set, they’re going to do it as a Blu-ray audio disc, so it’ll be available in digital and on Blu-ray – and that’s the ZIM Music, his newest musical system. It’s me and Anthony, two harps, tuba, accordion and/or cello, and occasionally an additional trumpet and saxophone. So it ranges from a six-piece group to a nine-piece group, always with the two harps.
Is this from a variety of sources, or all from one event?
We have a series of live concerts that we’d done last year, one in North Carolina and one in Montréal, and then a bunch of both live and studio recordings from Firehouse 12. We spent three or four days in the studio, and also did two sets live. And all of that has been recorded.
I remember seeing something posted on YouTube from the ZIM Music system.
Yeah, there’s a cool live video from a concert we did in Moers, and that may or may not be in the set. Trying to negotiate those rights has been much more complicated than everything else, which we own outright. So we’re not sure if we’ll include that in the set or not, but that is representative of what it is.
I bought the original Charlie Parker Project set in 1995 when it first came out. It’s just mind boggling that there was so much extra material left over. Thinking back, two CDs seemed like a nice overview of the project, and when you look at the new box set, it seems daunting to be confronted with so much material and so many repeated tunes. But when you actually dive in, you realize there’s so much variety, even radically different approaches to the same tunes on different outings.
I think that’s why he wanted it all to come out. He wanted this to come out for 25 years, so he’s ecstatic to be getting this out there. And especially with Paul and Misha having passed since then… actually, we’d started production before they passed. [Editor’s note: Paul Smoker died on May 14, 2016; Misha Mengelberg died on March 3, 2017.] I mean, they sound so good.
I also feel like that’s how we listen to Charlie Parker, in a way: We listen to these radical reinventions of all the stuff on all these radio broadcasts and all these recordings. And I think in some ways that was very much part of that project, letting this music evolve that way, and the kinds of risks and chances they take with it. I think the music is so extraordinary – and again, what a creative imprint [they make] upon it, how they’re radically reinventing it on each take. The original set was great, and was really formative for me – that came out when I was in my 20s, and I’m like, Oh, shit, you can do that to bebop? [Laughs] And just as a trumpet player, I feel Smoker was so under-recorded and under-appreciated, and he just sounds amazing on this.
So we’re putting out the Parker music on CD. Firehouse 12 is doing the ZIM Music on Blu-ray. We’re also putting out a recording we made a couple of years ago, a quartet with Anthony, [guitarist] Nels Cline, [drummer] Greg Saunier, and me, which is really fun.
Oh my god…
[Laughs] It’s Anthony’s rock ‘n’ roll record. The dedicatees of the tracks are Hendrix, James Brown, Merle Haggard, and Janis Joplin. So that’s coming out on traditional CD. Then we did this incredible recording of a 12-voice choir doing his entire Syntactical Ghost Trance series, which we did last year. And we’re actually sort of waiting… basically, this is the experiment: to see which of these is a sustainable financial model. We’re waiting to see whether the Parker sort of limited-edition deluxe box set idea works… or if the single-disc audio Blu-ray works, or if it just makes sense to do it digitally. As you well know, it’s crazy right now. And Anthony deals in such bulk; it’s never a 45-minute album we’re talking about. [Laughs] He also just did an eight-album duo recording with Eugene Chadbourne.
Now, that’s going to be a self-selecting audience, there.
You haven’t been breathlessly awaiting the contrabass saxophone and banjo duo that we’ve all wanted? [Laughs]
Well now that you’ve described the instrumentation: god, yes.
It’s also, you know, I’m teaching now, and none of my students has ever owned a CD, you know? None of them. Some of them own vinyl, because they’re hip, and they’re proud of owning, like, seven vinyl albums.
With all that said, we’ve been sort of exploring and experimenting. We have all this material. Anthony’s never going to stop. There’s even more back-catalog stuff we haven’t got out. And so, it’s figuring out what the best model is. And I have to say, I give Bandcamp credit: compared to all the other models, for artists it’s so much better.
You’re no stranger to Bandcamp yourself… in addition to your Firehouse 12 albums being available on the platform, you’ve got your own page, THB Music, for out-of-print recordings and even so-called bootlegs. What prompted that series?
There’s a lot of stuff where it’s like, this is great, I’d love people to hear this, but it’s not necessarily releasable as an album – it’s a standalone track, or sort of an outlier. I still believe in the album format; I really am old school that way. I really see it like a book of music. But then, I almost feel like Bandcamp gives you the chance to be a short-story writer.
Sextet (Parker) 1993 is due March 2, 2018, on New Braxton House; pre-ordering is available now via Bandcamp.
New This Week
(☆ – new addition this week)
Mark Applebaum – Speed Dating – Takao Hyakytome, Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players/Eduardo Leandro, Southern Oregon University Percussion Ensemble/Terry Longshore (Innova)
The Crossing – If There Were Water (Innova) Dolce Suono Trio with Lucy Shelton – American Canvas (Innova) Duo Damiana (Molly Barth & Dieter Hennings) – castillos de viento (Innova)
Fossil Aerosol Mining Project – August 53rd (Helen Scarsdale) ☆ Jacqueline Humbert & David Rosenboom – J. Jasmine: My New Music (Unseen Worlds) Scott Johnson – Mind Out of Matter – Alarm Will Sound/Alan Pierson (Tzadik; related Log interview here) Michael Gordon – Sonatra – Vicky Chow (Cantaloupe Music) ☆ Jason Lescalleet – This Is What I Do, Vol. 19 (Glistening Examples) Dave Liebman/Tatsuya Nakatani/Adam Rudolph – The Unknowable (RareNoise)
☆ Jason Moran and the Bandwagon with Katie Ernst, Ken Vandermark, Theaster Gates, and Kenwood Academy Jazz Band – Looks of a Lot (Yes Records) Adam Nussbaum – The Lead Belly Project (Sunnyside) Bobby Previte – Rhapsody (RareNoise) Subtle Degrees – A Dance That Empties (New Amsterdam/NNA Tapes) ☆ Thomas Tilly – Codex Amphibia (Glistening Examples) YoshimiO/Susie Ibarra/Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe – Flower of Sulphur (Thrill Jockey)
Michael Daugherty – Dreamachine; Trail of Tears; Reflections on the Mississippi – Evelyn Glennie, Amy Porter, Carol Jantsch, Albany Symphony Orchestra/David Allan Miller (Naxos) Olivia De Prato – Streya – works by Samson Young, Victor Lowrie, Ned Rothenberg, Taylor Brook, Reiko Fueting, and Missy Mazzoli (New Focus) Mathias Eick – Ravensberg (ECM) Sebastian Fagerlund – Stonework; Drifts; Transit – Ismo Eskelinen, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Hannu Lintu (Bis) Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette – After the Fall (ECM)
☆ François Bayle – Tremblements… (Recollection GRM) ☆ Christian Zanési – Grand Bruit/Stop! l’horizon (Recollection GRM) Yale Choral Artists – Statements: Lang, Hearne, Lash – Eric Brenner, Lydia Consilvio, Hannah Lash, Yale Philharmonia/Jeffrey Douma (Naxos)
Ensemble Musikfabrik – Kreutzungen – works by Vassos Nicolaou, Johannes Schöllhorn, Gérard Grisey, Dieter Mack (Wergo)
Brian Ferneyhough – La Terre est un Homme – Olivia Robinson, Jennifer Adams-Barbaro, Cherith Millburn-Fryer, EXAUDI/James Weeks, ensemble recherche, BBC Symphony Orchestra/Martyn Brabbins (NMC Recordings) Sarah Nemtsov – Amplified Imagination – Ensemble Adapter, ensemble mosaik, Sonar Quartett (Wergo)
Jordan Pal – Into the Wonder – Gryphon Trio, Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra/Arthur Post (Analekta) Wang Lu – Urban Inventory – International Contemporary Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Moderne (New Focus) Scott Miller – Raba – Laura Cocks, Dan Lippel, Ensemble :U (New Focus) Lucas Niggli – Alchemia Garden (Intakt) Aruán Ortiz Trio – Live in Zürich (Intakt)
Sergio Sorrentino – dream: American Music for Electric Guitar – works by John Cage, David Lang, Jack Vees, Elliott Sharp, Alvin Curran, Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, Larry Polansky, and Van Stiefel (Mode) Philip Venables – Below the Belt – Melinda Maxwell, Phoenix Piano Trio, Ligeti Quartet, David Hoyle, London Sinfonietta/Richard Baker (NMC Recordings)
Arild Andersen – In-House Science (ECM) Karl Berger – In a Moment – Music for Piano & Strings (Tzadik) Jakob Bro – Returnings (ECM) Caroline Davis – Heart Tonic (Sunnyside) Yuko Fujiyama – night wave (Innova) Kyle Gann – Hyperchromatica (Other Minds) Anne Guthrie – Brass Orchids (Students of Decay) Ah Young Hong – a breath upwards – vocal works by Milton Babbitt and Michael Hersch (Innova) Ursula K. Le Guin & Todd Barton – Music and Poetry of the Kesh (Freedom to Spend; related Log article here)
☆ Hong Chulki/Will Guthrie – Mosquitoes and Crabs (Erstwhile) ☆ Toshiya Tsunoda/Taku Unami – Wovenland (Erstwhile) ☆ Christian Wolff/Antoine Beuger – Where Are We Going, Today (Erstwhile)
Mary Halvorson – Code Girl (Firehouse 12) Invisible Anatomy – Dissections (New Amsterdam) Olivier Messiaen – Catalogue d’oiseaux – Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Pentatone) Sonar with David Torn – Vortex (RareNoise) Sons of Kemet – Your Queen Is a Reptile (Impulse!)
Henry Threadgill 14 or 15 Kestra: Agg – Dirt… and More Dirt (Pi Recordings)
Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas Sound Prints – Scandal (Greenleaf Music) Quince Ensemble – Motherland – vocal works by Gilda Lyons, Laura Steenberge, Cara Haxo, and Jennifer Jolley (New Focus) Dan Weiss – Starebaby (Pi Recordings) Patrick Zimmerli Quartet – Clockworks (Songlines)
Duduka Da Fonseca Trio – Plays Dom Salvador (Sunnyside)
Mike McGinnis with Steve Swallow & Art Lande – Singular Awakening (Sunnyside) Maria Monti – Il Bestario (Unseen Worlds; reissue, LP/CD only) Edward Simon – Sorrows & Triumphs (Sunnyside)
☆ Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog – WRU Still Here? (Northern Spy) Nils Vigeland/Reiko Fueting/Daniel Lippel/John Popham – “…through which the past shines…” – solo and chamber works for guitar by Nils Vigeland and Reiko Fueting (New Focus)
As National Sawdust Log ceases operation at a time of drastic challenge, editor and lead writer Steve Smith looks back at what this bold joint initiative among artists, journalists, and critics achieved.
https://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/wood-618673_1920.jpg12151920Steve Smithhttps://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/national-sawdust-log.pngSteve Smith2020-03-31 06:00:462020-03-31 10:00:25Last Words: National Sawdust Log at a Time of Transition
Vanessa Ague talks to composers Gemma Peacocke and Cassie Wieland about the music they created for a Kinds of Kings residency concert at National Sawdust in March, now postponed and awaiting rescheduling.
https://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Kinds-of-Kings-2020_photo-credit-Susanna.png641964Vanessa Aguehttps://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/national-sawdust-log.pngVanessa Ague2020-03-17 15:00:092020-03-17 15:56:51Inside National Sawdust: Kinds of Kings Explore Meyer Sound
Rebecca S. Lentjes looks back on the first three orchestral programs of "Project 19," the New York Philharmonic's ambitious initiative celebrating the centenary of women's suffrage with new works by 19 distinguished composers.
https://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Project-featured.jpg600900Rebecca S. Lentjeshttps://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/national-sawdust-log.pngRebecca S. Lentjes2020-03-06 18:00:432020-03-06 18:18:13New York Philharmonic: Project 19 Opens with Captivating Works
DIrector Joel Ivany and composer Michelle DiBucci talk to Olivia Giovetti about 'Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup,' the timely chamber opera Against the Grain Theatre is workshopping in residence at National Sawdust.
https://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Grain-banner.jpg8001500Olivia Giovettihttps://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/national-sawdust-log.pngOlivia Giovetti2020-02-12 11:46:272020-02-12 12:30:12Inside National Sawdust: Against the Grain Theatre in Residence