Anthony Braxton: For John Cage


For John Cage


Anthony Braxton (alto sax)


For Alto (Delmark DE-420)

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Anthony Braxton (alto sax).

Recorded: Chicago, IL; Autumn 1968


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

In the late ‘60s, Braxton aspired to create a solo language for saxophone akin to that of the piano. His controversial 1968 recordings (released on the unprecedented double album For Alto) document the effort; “For John Cage” testifies to its success. At first pass it may sound chaotic, but there is an internal logic to the self-contained system of the piece. Braxton sets a benchmark of intensity at the outset—the ferocity of attack is immediately striking—then deviates from it dramatically, generating structural tension. He manipulates basic musical elements to develop a vocabulary all his own—distorted sounds, jagged rhythmic shapes, an elastic sense of time—and the result is a triumph of creativity.

Reviewer: Joe Petrucelli

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