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Leo Records

Huge catalogue of free improvisation from 1979 to today, with a focus on Soviet musicians. 

"Most Ghost Trance Music performances begin with the entire ensemble in unison at the opening of the work. What happens afterwards, however, differs widely depending on the piece, the make up of the ensemble, and the ever changing performance practices. At designated points of the line, often in looped sections, one may decide to switch to an improvisation, play a secondary / tertiary piece, or play the melody at a different tempo. There are no fixed rules pertaining to when this happens or for how long, and it may also be done individually or in groups. Composition n. 247 is one of the few Ghost Trance Music works tailored for a specific instrumentation: two saxophones and bagpipes (Anthony Braxton, James Fei, and Matthew Welch). It's been recorded live, and the striking quality of this recording will be evident immediately upon first hearing. "The music on this disc is unlike anything I have participated in, in terms of mental and physical endurance, mobility between different sets of material, and sheer sonic intensity."  - James Fei, NYC, December 2000.  “Ghost Trance Music” is a phrase one hears bandied about in the rather occult discourses of Braxtonologists, but this piece really makes sense of the term. Using the bagpipes not only for their sound but, it seems, their whole tradition, he creates a continuously flowing stream of notes rooted in a regular semiquaver rhythm. At the most simplistic level, this is certainly hypnotic stuff, and when one gets a way into the piec’s hour-long duration, time really does seem to dilate a bit. - Metropolis Free Jazz  --- Anthony Braxton / soprano, f and alsto saxophones; e flat and contrabass clarinets, right channel James Fei / soprano and alto saxophones; bass clarinet, left channel Matthew Welch / bagpipes --- Recorded in Middletown, Connecticut, May 15, 2000 by Jon Rosenburg. Engineered by Stan Wijnans at LMC Studio, London. 

Anthony Braxton – Composition N. 247

"Alexander Kan’s liners do a good job of setting the stage occupied by these pre-perestroika musicians; he recounts scenes that read like LeCarre. And indeed the strongest impression of this music is its urgency. Cliched reflections about the tormented Russian anima are almost unavoidable, but the fact is that music has great immediacy for people in times of crisis; I have seen it in such unromantic settings as an RAF base on the eve of the Falklands gambit. This urgency is what compels Vyacheslav Ganelin (piano, various instruments), Vladimir Tarasov (percussion) and Vladimir Chekasin (saxes, various) to free improvisations of sustained focus and intensity at live sets recorded in Leningrad and West Berlin. The latter appearance greatly impressed the Western critics, and the music stands up well. These men are playing for their lives, and have no time to worry about whether this or that transition might be difficult. As a result potential pitfalls vanish into thin air as they achieve a kind of mobility rare outside of Sun Ra and a freedom that must have been sweet indeed." - Duck Baker --- Vladimir Tarasov / drums, percussion, bells, talking drumVyacheslav Ganelin / piano, bassett, guitar, percussionVladimir Chekasin / as, ts, wooden flute, cl, bassett-horn, percussion, voice --- Part 1 recorded live in Leningrad, Nov 5, 1980. Part 2 recorded live in West Berlin, October 29, 1980. Tapes remastered by Alan Moseley. Special thanks to Liz Trott for smuggling out the tapes. 

The Ganelin Trio – Ancora Da Capo

Written in Woodstock between August 1979 and September 1980 and dedicated to Stockhausen, Composition 96 is a piece for orchestra and four slide projectors intended, says Braxton, "to celebrate the composite inter-relationship between dynamic symbolism and positive world change."  Composition 96 is, says Anthony Braxton, a key work in his music's evolution. This is true both on the structural level, where 96 is "a point of definition" in his development of "multiple line musics"; and on the spiritual or "vibrational" (to use Braxton's term) level where it is the second in his series of "ritual and ceremonial" pieces in which he employs "correspondance logics" to explore music's links with colour, shape, symbol, gesture, astrology and numerology. The visual components of Composition 96 are based on "12 symbols from various world culture religions and/or mystical teachings" (the remaining 4 symbols being created by various combinations of the original 12).  --- The Composers and Improvisors Orchestra are: Denny Goodhew / alto saxDeborah De Loria / bassScott Weaver / bassRay Downey / bass clarinetMarlene Weaver / bassoonMarjorie Parbington / celloPage Smith-Weaver / celloScott Threlkold / celloPaul Pearse / clarinetBill Smith / clarinetBob Davis / english hornDenise Pool / fluteRebecca Morgan / fluteNancy Hargerud / fluteRichard Reed / french hornMotter Dean / harpAileen Munger / oboeLauurri Uhlig / oboeEd Hartman / percussionMatt Kocmieroski / percussionJulian Priester / tromboneScott Reeves / tromboneDave Scott / trumpetJames Knapp / trumpetRick Bynes / tubaBeatrice Dolf, Betty Agent, Jean Word, Sam Williams / violaJeannine Davis, Julian Smedley, Libby Poole, Mathew Pederson, Becky Liverzey, Jeroen Van Tyn, Mary Jacobson, Sandra Guy / violin --- Written for 37-piece orchestra and four slide projectors by Anthony Braxton. Recorded by the Composers and Improvisors Orchestra at the Cornish Institute, Seattle, Washington, May 30, 1981 and dedicated to the master composer Karlheinz Stockhausen.  Conducted by Anthony Braxton. Published by Synthesis Music. Produced by Leo Feigin. Remastered by Alan Mosley.

Anthony Braxton – Composition 96

"Saved from oblivion by Anthony Braxton himself this recording can't be more welcome, for at the time of the release other Braxton's solo CDs are mostly unavailable. But make no mistake: the thing that will strike your ears is how absolutely contemporary this music sounds. Recorded twenty four years ago it sounds as if it has been recorded today. It was a long concert, but we managed to save every sound by editiong out bursts of applause after each piece. Yet it happened to be the longest recording in the entire Leo Records catalogue: 78'02." "Not released until 24 years after it was recorded, this classic solo album by one of the giants of the saxophone is a welcome addition to Anthony Braxton's discography. Performing solely on alto sax, there is a searing lyricism and a surprisingly jazz-oriented underpinning to even the most abstract of Braxton's improvisations. While most of the compositions are originals, the two that are not -- "You Go to My Head" and "Impressions" -- reveal Braxton's remarkable ability to delve deeply inside a song's structure and make it his own. In later years, Braxton often revealed a mellow tinge to his playing, even in solo performances. The instant release, though, reveals him in an energetic mood, and should satisfy those who appreciate his more radical side within the "mainstream" of the jazz avant-garde. He barks, screeches (though only occasionally and in characteristically good taste), and shows some outstanding technical skills, including incredible speed. While he has recorded some of these compositions elsewhere (for example, as Steve Day writes in the liner notes, four of the compositions appear on the impressive Alto Saxophone Improvisations 1979), Braxton is in peak form on this one and the results are uniformly excellent. Braxton enthusiasts (and others, too) will want this in their collections." - Surfing the Odyssey

Anthony Braxton – Solo (Koln) 1978

"Solo performance by the brilliant pianist paying tribute to John Coltrane. Recorded in London, Logan Hall, 1987. Seven pieces, four of them by Coltrane. This dedication has been inspired by the mystical experience where the pianist felt the presence and guiding of Coltrane's spirit. A new romantic side of Marilyn's talent. Outstanding reviews." "Hearing Marilyn Crispell play solo piano is like monitoring an active volcano,” wrote Jon Pareles in the New York Times. “She is one of a very few pianists who rise to the challenge of free jazz." Crispell, who was born in Philadelphia in 1947, is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music where she studied classical piano and composition, and has been a resident of Woodstock, New York since 1977, when she came to study and teach at the Creative Music Studio.Crispell discovered jazz through the music of John Coltrane and Cecil Taylor among others. For ten years she was a member of the Anthony Braxton Quartet and the Reggie Workman Ensemble and has been a member of the Barry Guy New Orchestra and guest with his London Jazz Composers Orchestra, as well as a member of the Henry Grimes Trio, Quartet Noir and Anders Jormin's Bortom Quintet. Crispell has described how, through playing with the Braxton Quartet, she “began to think more compositionally and pay more attention to space and silence”. Besides working as a soloist and leader of her own groups, Crispell has performed and recorded extensively with well-known players on the American and international.

Marilyn Crispell – For Coltrane

Seven original compositions plus two bonus tracks previously unissued. "36 minutes of the Man from Saturn and his Arkestra - the length of a good LP in the old days. Plus, how can any Saturnian resist the lure of a Ra disc recorded in the shadow of the Sphinx herself, right in Cairo? Top it off with 33 more minutes of Salah Ragab and the Cairo Jazz Band, and you've got a real treat. This is Ra in 1983 and 1984, sounding surprisingly close to the tight Ra band of the Fifties, rather than to the later, looser ensembles. To be sure, there isn't a lot of intricate ensemble work on these three Ra tracks, but the heads do have a bit of a throwback bop feel. Plus, "Egypt Strut" and "Dawn" both feature John Gilmore solos of terrific architectonic coherence and passion, and Marshall Allen chimes in on flute just as mellifluously. The Sun himself contributes a keyboard solo of ringing power on "Egypt Strut." "Watusa," meanwhile, is a feast of percussion in the grand Ra fashion. The Cairo jazz ensembles, which range from 21 members ("Ramadan") to five ("Oriental Mood,") hold up their end of the disc wonderfully. This is energetic and deeply sincere jazz with a marvelous Middle Eastern feel, complete with chanting on "Ramadan." All the instrumentalists are first-rate, especially pianist Khamis El Khouly, especially on "A Farewell Theme." A great one. A feast. Don't miss it." All About Jazz

The Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab In Egypt