Anthony Braxton Quartet – Ornithology (1974)

The great avant-gardist Anthony Braxton threw the jazz world a curve with this album (and its second volume). Braxton, filling in for an ill Dexter Gordon, was joined by pianist Tete Montoliu, bassist Niels Pedersen and drummer Tootie Heath for a set of five jazz standards. After playing the melodies fairly straight, Braxton tears into Warne Marsh’s ‘Marshmallow,’ ‘Just Friends’ and ‘Lush Life’ with very complex and abstract improvisations that are generally ignored by the rhythm section who go about playing in their usual bop-oriented style. An exception is a duet with bassist Pedersen on a very spooky ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,’ one of two songs on which Braxton plays contrabass clarinet. His solo on ‘Ornithology’ on that instrument is a bit silly, for the contrabass clarinet is so low that one has difficulty telling some of its notes apart from each other. [Source]

Anthony Braxton – Contrabass Clarinet
Tete Montoliu – Piano
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen – Bass
Albert “Tootie” Heath – Drums

Recorded: Rosenberg Studios Copenhagen, Denmark May 29, 1974.


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