Anthony Braxton


This 1969 album, recorded for the BYG label while Braxton and company were in Paris, features trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, violinist Leroy Jenkins, and percussionist Steve McCall. Though it’s under Braxton’s name, it was a group, and compositional duties are divided relatively equally. Smith’s love of space and contrasting instrumental voices rather than conventional harmony show up in his “The Light On The Dalta”; Jenkins’ “Simple Like” lives up to its title with a pastoral, folkish melody; and Braxton’s piece, which has a diagram for a title, written out as “B-Xo/N-O-1-47a,” is a side-long collage of moments, some loud and high-energy, others soft and subtle. Braxton’s voice is still forming, and the music may disappoint listeners seeking the fiery passion of conventional “free jazz,” but there are wonders to absorb.

Phil Freeman