Anthony Braxton’s New Charlie Parker Set Reviewed

Anthony Braxton

Source: Village Voice.

“When I first heard Charlie Parker — the record was Bird on 52nd St. — that record frightened me. It frightened me, and it was the most exciting music I’d ever heard…” Those were musician and composer Anthony Braxton’s words in a 1988 biography about him, Forces in Motion, by Graham Lock. It’s now hard to believe that the 72-year-old Braxton — a fearless musician who created the music he felt compelled to make, popularity and commerce be damned — was ever frightened of anything, especially of a portly man in pinstripe suits. But sepia-toned photos of Parker don’t fully illustrate that he was a Kansas City rebel with a cause, a Beat prior to Kerouac, and two beats ahead of hippies and punks.