Tag Archives: Anthony Braxton

Weekend in Jazz | 12.14-12.16: Bohemian’s back on track, and Braxton attacks

Laurent Coq, left, and Miguel Zenón will perform at Bohemian Caverns this weekend. Courtesy jazz24.org

by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

Bohemian Caverns, which has acted as a fallout shelter amid U Street’s steady implosion as a jazz hub, had a brush with the law this week after an alleged sexual assault there last weekend. No charges have been filed, and D.C.’s ABC board yesterday decided to lift its temporary suspension of the club’s liquor license. So as we keep our eye on how the horrendous accusations pan out, we can rest assured that the music will be very much back on track at the caves this weekend: Miguel Zenón and Laurent Coq are presenting their outstanding new project for the next two nights; the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra is playing a Saturday matinee show; and the mighty bass clarinetist Todd Marcus appears with a redoubtable quartet on Sunday night.

Then, of course, there’s Anthony Braxton’s breathlessly anticipated show at the Kennedy Center on Saturday, and the child prodigy Beka Gochiashvili’s performance with Lenny White and Eddie Gomez at the Howard Theatre on Sunday. No shortage of firepower this weekend. You can find details on all these shows and more in this week’s edition of “Weekend in Jazz,” a listing of every D.C. jazz show on our radar. Our favorites have a label, and as always, you can read CapitalBop’s full listings directly at our D.C. jazz calendar, if you’d rather. Happy hunting!

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14

cb picks:

  • Miguel Zenón & Laurent Coq, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Jeff Antoniuk & Jazz Update, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Benjie Porecki Ensemble, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. | For this week’s Jazz Night at Westminster, keyboardist Benjie Porecki leads a small group. Porecki has outward-bound, tonal inclinations, but he can also loosen his belt for some serviceable swinging jazz. Here he appears with a hard-to-beat band: Brad Collins on saxophone, Michael Bowie on bass and Mark Prince on drums. $5 cover for adults, no cover for attendees under 16, no minimum. View event on calendar | Westminster Presbyterian Church website Continue reading

Interviews | Taylor Ho Bynum and Mary Halvorson on the myth and music of Anthony Braxton

Anthony Braxton, right, shown with his trio in the 1970s, will perform at the Kennedy Center. Courtesy Tom Marcello/flickr

by Luke Stewart
Editorial board

Words to describe Anthony Braxton’s music: challenging, difficult, weird, original, beautiful. Perhaps more than any living American composer, Braxton’s work has been extremely controversial without being overtly political. In fact, he has no interest in placing his music within the confines of any political or racial discussion. Nor does he associate his music with a particular genre. He simply aims to create music that is personal, and unique.

Since the late 1960s, Braxton’s musical output has been nothing less than prolific. He was one of the main progenitors of the AACM in Chicago, where he developed alongside some of the most innovative and celebrated American creative musicians. He was awarded with a major label contract in the 1970s, giving him the opportunity to present his radical music to an international audience. However, for every loyal fan he made, his music also became associated with an esoteric other, seeming far too strange for mainstream society.

After his stint as an international creative music star, he began a career as an academic, where his ideas and concepts in composition and improvisation could be refined and developed further. More importantly, he has had the opportunity to mentor multiple generations of innovative improvisers. Through his professorial position, he simultaneously receives inspiration and information from his students, as he provides them with a wealth of knowledge and insight.

This Saturday, Braxton will perform with his Diamond Curtain Wall Quartet, featuring the pianist Jason Moran as a special guest. I got in touch with two members of the group, both prominent Braxton protégés: the cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum and the guitiarist Mary Halvorson, who led her own group at the Atlas Performing Arts Center last night. They talked about working with the master and what it has taught them. Continue reading

TONIGHT: CapitalBop’s free artist talk with Mary Halvorson at the Atlas Performing Arts Center

Mary Halvorson will listen to music that’s influenced her with audience members tonight at the Atlas. Courtesy andynew/flickr

by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

After last month’s very fun conversation with Joel Harrison, Luke and I will be back at the Atlas tonight to lead an open audience discussion with the great guitarist Mary Halvorson. Come grab a happy hour drink and take a seat for our listening session and chat, which starts at 7 p.m. We’ll watch performance videos of some musicians who have influenced Halvorson’s artistry, and everyone will be invited to help us ask some questions of her.

Halvorson, a Wesleyan University graduate and protégé of the legendary Anthony Braxton, arrived on the New York scene 10 years ago and has been an indispensable member of its avant-garde since. She’s got a scraping, exploding attack on the guitar, and a canny talent for tightly framed original compositions. She also happens to lead a killer band: Jonathan Finlayson on trumpet, Jon Irabagon on alto saxophone, John Hébert on bass and Ches Smith on drums.

Being a guitarist gives you a lot of leeway these days — to draw from rock, with its mixture of guitar godliness and studied insouciance, or country, or the blues; to use a bevy of looping and effects pedals, or not; to go for clean and radiant runs, or use the guitar like a sharp tool. Halvorson likes to play around with a bunch of these options, although she always keeps that signature sound: knotty, winding, squirming and laughing.

Don’t miss out on the chance tonight to listen to music with Halvorson, and then hear her perform with the expert quintet.

The pre-show discussion and listening session is free and open to the public, and it begins at 7 p.m. The Mary Halvorson Quintet performs at 8 p.m. More information is available here. Tickets cost $25, or $15 for students, and can be purchased here.

News | Kennedy Center announces adventurous 2012-’13 season, the first of Jason Moran’s tenure

Anthony Braxton will perform at the Kennedy Center for the first time in his storied career. Courtesy intoabluehaze.blogspot.com


by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

From the Kennedy Center’s well-appointed vantage on the banks of the Potomac, jazz has never seemed so accommodating, so open-armed, as it does this week.

The center on Tuesday announced its 2012-’13 jazz season, the first under the curation of Jason Moran, the institution’s new artistic advisor for jazz. The lineup is bursting with variety, including names as divergent as Mulgrew Miller, Anthony Braxton and Medeski, Martin & Wood.

The 36-year-old Moran, an award-winning pianist and composer, isn’t out to erase the music’s vaunted history from our present conversation. Note the long-shadowed presence of Dr. Lonnie Smith, the Heath Brothers and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band on the schedule. But there’s no doubt this season — which begins in October and runs through the following June — represents a fleet fast-forward for the center, long considered an artistically conservative institution.

If comparing this itinerary to the Kennedy Center’s previous season doesn’t drive the point home enough, maybe a look at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s upcoming schedule, also announced earlier this week, will throw things into high relief.

JALC will focus, as usual, on codifying the impression that jazz is an historic language, one that can perhaps be pronounced in a number of accents but must nevertheless be defined by a specific grammatical code. Inasmuch as its 2012-’13 schedule ventures outside the realm of what’s commonly called “jazz,” it does so mostly by including blues musicians – practitioners of a progenitor to jazz, not a contemporary extension or outgrowth of it. The Kennedy Center, on the other hand, invites all manner of modern-day brethren into the tent: jam band musicians (Medeski, Martin & Wood), funk-jazzers (Soulive), an Afropop-jazz alchemist (Lionel Loueke). Continue reading