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Duke Ellington / Anthony Braxton. April 7, 2000

Anthony Braxton / Duke Ellington

April 7, 2000, Mark Henteleff writes:

>Braxton is to the latter half of the 20th century what

>Ellington was to the first half...a bit of a stretch with regards

>to time and degree of influence, but still a fair comparison with

>regards to composition, taste, and innovation.

I'm a long-time Braxton fan to the tune of maybe 40 recordings (between LP & CD). I'm also an Ellington fan, with probably 90 or 100 of his LPs/CDs. I think it is more than a stretch to refer to Braxton as comparable to Ellington, in that, as interesting and at times arresting AB's compositions are, and in that he might have influenced (and is influencing) a certain--and relatively narrow--branch of composers, and that he is innovative, I think his importance in those areas is a small fraction of Ellington's. It is like comparing Beethoven to Schoenberg (giving Braxton a benefit of the doubt here)--yes, Schoenberg was innovative and influential, but as for how many people will be interested in the year 2100 in listening to and performing and studying his music (at least the serial, post Gurrelieder stuff), I think it will be a tiny group, as compared to Beethoven. That's how I see the Ellington/Braxton comparison.

Dave Royko

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