Anthony Braxton Quartet, East Berlin 1985
While checking Youtube for footage of Anthony Braxton, I saw that someone uploaded a video allegedly showing the Anthony Braxton Quartet 1985 in Berlin. But in fact that video shows Braxton’s group with Hugh Ragin 1981 in Hamburg. So I dived deep into my large box of old VHS videos and came up with the old TV broadcast from the GDR TV station that really shows the 1985 quartet at the Friedrichstadtpalast in East Berlin on June 21, 1985.
Braxton’s quartet on this date consisted of Marilyn Crispell on piano, Gerry Hemingway on bass and Jens Saleh on bass. According to Gerry Hemingway (in “Mixtery: a festschrift for Anthony Braxton”, quoted on Rick Lopez’ pages on Marilyn Crispell in Anthony Braxton’s groups), Braxton fired regular bassist John Lindberg a few days before the East Berlin concert when the quartet was in Amsterdam. So for this occasion the young east german bassist Jens Saleh joined the quartet – and he does a fine job regarding the circumstances.
Unfortunately the color information of the video got lost during the transformation from communist to capitalist pixels – but it’s all about the music anyway. I have to admit, I am not really in the mood to compare this video with the recordings I have from this period in Braxton’s work to find out which compositions are played here. I guess that there are some Braxton fanatics around that know right away what is happening here. If so, it would be nice, if you let me know.