Anthony Braxton At Cafe Oto Reviewed (Again)

Source: The Quietus. Yet another angle on these recent shows.

With Cafe Oto celebrating its tenth anniversary earlier this month, it’s apt that Anthony Braxton, who the venue say has been at the top of their wish list since opening in 2008, should finally appear there in a sold-out, three-night residency – his first as a band leader in the UK since a show at the Royal Festival Hall in 2004. The multi-instrumentalist, philosopher, teacher and self-identified student of music occupies a unique place in the world of modern composition. Hugely influenced by the abstract theories of John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen, yet also enamoured of the work of jazz greats like John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Eric Dolphy, Braxton’s vast back catalogue of over 350 compositions is somewhat bewildering to the casual listener. My own position is as a relative newcomer to his work, although in the run up to the shows, I do spend some time with the nine CD box set, 9 Compositions (Iridium), described by Braxton himself as: “The point of definition in my work thus far.”