Tuesday 29 May 2018, 7.30pm
Ever since Cafe OTO first opened its doors in 2008, Anthony Braxton has been up at the top of the list of people we wanted to host here. One of the fundamental figures in the music of the late 20th century, his work as a saxophonist and composer has set trailblazing precedents by tapping into and expanding new conceptual and instrumental possibilities. To this day, Braxton remains a towering force in new music and we're over the moon to welcome him to OTO for three very special nights with his ZIM Sextet as we celebrate our 10th year.
Anthony Braxton / saxophones, compositions
Taylor Ho Bynum / cornet, brass
Adam Matlock / accordion
Dan Peck / tuba
Jacqueline Kerrod & Miriam Overlach / harps
“A scientist and an artist, Braxton seems content developing of his own musical galaxy. There's nobody quite like him, and if his music is the diametric opposite of easy listening, it has acted as an antidote to creative conservatism throughout his lifetime.” – The Guardian
The development of Braxton's unique musical language began as an exploration of rhythms and textures, which he combined with techniques gained from experimental composition, from graphic notation to serialism all the way to multimedia presentation. In the interim, he can look back on and celebrate over four decades of kaleidoscopic output: recordings, compositions, theoretical works and university teaching appointments.
Braxton has remained a controversial figure among musicians and critics, since he moves with complete autonomy between diverse musical worlds and has absorbed the influences of John Coltrane, Paul Desmond and Eric Dolphy with equal enthusiasm as those of John Cage or Karlheinz Stockhausen. The latter preoccupations have led to plenty of criticism from traditionalists. There is however zero cause for doubt regarding the originality and rich world of ideas that Braxton’s output represents. He has managed in his resourceful way to reconcile the intuitive aspects of free jazz with the formal and harmonic methods of contemporary classical music. Braxton has composed works for orchestra and operas – he has experimented with unusual line-ups, writing for and performing with 100 tubas or four orchestras where it suits his fancy. He has created myriad complex works that he uses as jumping off points for improvisations, deconstructions and remixes.