Paul Flaherty: Compassion Lost And Found Again

To witness saxophonist Paul Flaherty in the creation process (the concert hall) is to see a man enter into a kind of death match with his muse. Frankly, it's both inspiring and frightening. A large man with a shock of white hair and beard, Flaherty remains motionless on stage for a minute or so before launching into a high-intensity clinic on extended techniques. Running the scale from softly romantic to passionate squall, the ideas flash into the air and then explode out of his horn. It's as if his saxophone is alive. Maybe it is!

November 02, 2007 · 0 comments


Anthony Braxton: For John Cage

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.

October 22, 2007 · 0 comments


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