AMN Reviews: Jessica Pavone String Quartet – Brick and Mortar (2019; Birdwatcher Records)

Jessica Pavone offers her second release of the year with these five pieces for a string quartet. Pavone, who is well-known as an experimental violinist, plays the viola on Brick and Mortar. She is joined by Joanna Mattrey also on viola, as well as Erica Dicker and Angela Morris on violin. Unlike some of Pavone’s previous works, this album is more composed than improvised; it is played relatively “straight” with few extended techniques and no obvious effects or processing.

But that is not to say that Brick and Mortar is conventional in any sense. Each track has its own distinct and unusual character, from the pulsing of Lullaby and Goodnight to the rich, interlocked drones of the title track. Pavone leads the group through slowly-evolving melodies, not quite pastoral yet with an Eastern European feel. Sooner or Later explores contrapuntal patterns while By and Large centers around a lilting motif that accelerates upward in pitch.

Eschewing the overtly dissonant while remaining modern, Pavone has created a compelling and creative effort with broad appeal. The pace is deliberate and thoughtful with a detailed atmosphere.  Well done.

Anthony Braxton / Tri-Centric Foundation Update

Source: Tri-Centric Foundation.

After almost a decade (this incarnation of Tri-Centric started in 2010), a staggering amount of Anthony Braxton’s archive is now housed with Tri-Centric: roughly 400 compositions which we estimate are between 10,000 to 20,000 pieces of print material in the form of scores and parts, of which 26 compositions are now available to the general public and over 170 compositions have already been digitized fully or partially in a monumental effort led by Tri-Centric’s Director of Publishing Carl Testa; over 1600 audiovisual material in the forms of cassettes, videos and more; ongoing and growing audio documentation of Braxton works as seen in the over 100 Anthony Braxton albums released on our label; ongoing work on the revised edition of Tri-Axium Writings which we hope to bring to the world within the next year or two, and much much more.

Along with our original mission of supporting the work and legacy of Anthony Braxton, we have added the safekeeping, organization and dissemination of Anthony Braxton’s living archive as one of Tri-Centric’s urgent goals. This is necessary, important and costly work. To that end, we will be launching a major fundraiser later this year. Please stay tuned, and please consider saving a portion of your annual giving for what we are currently calling “Braxton75: Tri-Centric Archive Project”.

So what’s coming up? First, the Anthony Braxton Composer Portrait concert at Miller Theatre on Sept. 25 (we had questions from our supporters and would like to clarify that Anthony himself is not performing). JACK Quartet and Either/Or will present a fantastic overview of Braxton’s oeuvre spanning decades and Tri-Centric board president James Fei will be joining them.

For how this concert fits into Tri-Centric’s Braxton75 initiative, look no further than this informative article in which Miller Theatre Executive Director Melissa Smey remarks that this is “very much in keeping with the goals of Braxton 75. The Tri-Centric Foundation is using the occasion to further disseminate Braxton’s music, expanding the existing pedagogical practice to enable more people to play his music. Because Braxton has often performed his own works, he faces many of the same challenges in cementing a legacy as others in his generation who are personally attached to their music… It’s important that this community of collaborators has come up around him to make that happen.”

In October, Anthony Braxton and members of Tri-Centric will travel to Berlin where we open the 2019 Jazzfest Berlin with Anthony’s multi-hour Sonic Genome under the conduction and direction of Anthony himself, transforming the Gropius Bau Museum into a visual and sonic live performance experience. During the festival, there will be panel discussions on Anthony’s works, score exhibitions and, on the last day, a performance by Anthony’s ZIM Music ensemble. We look forward to working with many musicians on Berlin’s diverse music scene including members of the Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra, Trickster Orchestra and KIM Collective and musicians from the Australian Art Orchestra.

Another important aspect of Braxton75 is pedagogy. Tri-Centric Executive Director Kyoko Kitamura will once again be working both the Visionary Youth Orchestra and Face the Music next year, as well as with artists and ensembles around the world throughout the year. For a full list of Braxton75 events, please check out our website page.

Sirius Quartet’s Progressive Chamber Music Festival in NYC Oct. 10-11

Source: Greenwich House.

October 10-11, 2019
Greenwich House Music School
46 Barrow Street, NYC

Thursday, Oct 10 @ 7PM
Lisa Hoppe’s Third Reality (Charlotte Greve, Lisa Hoppe, Tal Yahalom)
Pascal’s Triangle (Pascal Le Boeuf, Martin Nevin, Peter Kronreif )
Shoko Nagai & Satoshi Takeishi’s VORTEX

Friday, Oct 11 @ 7PM
Sirius Quartet
For Living Lovers (Brandon Ross & Stomu Takeishi)
Theremin Noir (Rob Schwimmer, Mark Feldman, Uri Caine)

On October 10, Lisa Hoppe’s Third Reality (Charlotte Greve, Lisa Hoppe, Tal Yahalom) kicks things off with its mindful and otherworldly original compositions. Then composer/pianist Pascal Le Boeuf’s modern jazz piano trio Pascal’s Triangle will take the audience on a deep dive. Le Boeuf describes the trio’s philosophy as that of a diver “charged with the task of swimming deep within the mind, beneath the surface of reality, to retrieve something beautiful, undiscovered or interesting to share with the real world.” Shoko Nagai and Satoshi Takeishi, known for intense improvisational music that has been described as “almost visible to the listener, close out the evening.

On October 11, Sirius Quartet will open with music from their new record, New World (out August 23 on ZOHO Records). For Living Lovers, featuring Brandon Ross and Stomu Takeishi, and all-star trio Theremin Noir round out the night. The album Theremin Noir was released 20 years ago and its re-release is timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the invention of the theremin in 1920. This is darkly evocative modern chamber music with a healthy dose of improvisation by three masters – Rob Schwimmer (theremin), Mark Feldman (violin), Uri Caine (piano). The program includes fascinating interpretations of thematic highlights culled from the oeuvre of film composer Bernard Herrmann, who created an astonishing musical-psychological subtext for director Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest films as well as originals and improvisations.