I 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.