Anthony Braxton's never been cool, but has always seemed mighty weird. There's the pipe-smoking, sweater-swaddled egghead persona, a nutty professor dispensing super-cerebral, impenetrably systematic post-Ornette/Stockhausen compositions with all but unreproducible algebraic-schematic diagrams for titles—convoluted musical equations that softly scream for a big blackboard and a bucketful of chalk. (Try calling out their catchy abbreviations as encore requests: "Composition No. 69J [+30+108D]"!!!) Then there's his arsenal of peculiar, unwieldy, and flat-out obsolete reeds (Braxton's business card must say, "Have contrabass sax, will travel"). But even when he plays the conventional instrument he made his name on back with 1968's daunting... More >>>