Anthony Braxton article

braxhomeI recently read a great interview with Anthony Braxton in Jazz Inside magazine.  At age 64, Braxton is a well-known composer/saxophonist that straddles the “jazz” and contemporary composition world. (Apparently he cringes when people classify him as a “jazz” musician) It is clear  that he is a very articulate and thoughtful musician who considers himself “a student of world music” on all levels, as he says. I took special interest in some of his thoughts and explanations on his career choices that ultimately led to his recording output. He explains that “Documentation…is  form of closure. Once a given target project is documented and distributed, I can then go on to the next areas of my music system. “

A very honest and enlightened realization that seem to relate to me at this point in my life was when he identified himself to the character Alberich from Wagner’s Ring Cycle “…I can relate to Alberich [who] makes the decision to give up love after humiliation and to accept power instead. For me, the gambit was to give up the idea of making money from music performance or recording and concentrate on doing the best I could to to advance my work-because as I surveyed the world of performance dynamics for creative music, it became very clear that I wasn’t going to make any money and so part of the gambit for my decision to go forward was understanding that there would be no monetary gain for my music effort. ”

I would hope (and assume) that this is no longer the case for Mr. Braxton(he is a tenured professor at Wesleyan now). But this is a creative force that has recorded over 230 records already in his lifetime! What a true testament to his commitment and relentless desire to make music. Artists like these always give me so much hope.

Emmy returns

Santa Cruz emeritus professor/composer David Cope created an artificially intelligent composer “Emmy” (Experiments in Musical Intelligence EMI) years ago. After facing a lot of criticism and praise from musicians and scientists, he decided to move Emmy to his trash folder because Emmy’s existence raised deep questions in regards to the originality of music composition if it could be created by a Cyborg composer.

“If a machine could write a Mozart sonata every bit as good as the originals, then what was so special about Mozart? And was there really any soul behind the great works, or were Beethoven and his ilk just clever mathematical manipulators of notes?”

After many years, David Cope has created the Emmy offspring “Emily Howell” which apparently creates original modern compositions that are quite good. Click here to read more about this and to hear some sound samples.