KOBE VAN CAUWENBERGHE — Ghost Trance Septet plays Anthony Braxton (review)

KOBE VAN CAUWENBERGHE — Ghost Trance Septet plays Anthony Braxton album cover Album · 2022 · Avant-Garde Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Anthony Braxton (born June 4, 1945) is one of the most respected of creative contemporary music composers and musicians, still active today (just a few months ago he played live in my hometown with his Saxophone Quartet). His early works (coming from the 60s and 70s) are mostly from the avant-garde jazz field, and some are accepted as genre standards. Later Braxton moved towards cross-genre compositional forms, usually related with jazz, but containing elements of contemporary concert hall music, some ancient folk, etc.

Braxton's one remarkable experimental work is his Ghost Trance Music series, inspired by 19th century Native American Ghost Dances and written between 1995 and 2006. The concept of GTM composition is based on idea, that there exists a "primary melody", which Braxton describes as "a melody that never ends". This line of music is written to be played in unison by any performer who wishes to participate in the "ritual circle dance". There is more information on Braxton's musical legacy presented in this nicely designed "organic" CD package's booklet, but generally one doesn't need to learn much before listening. The music itself is complex, but quite accessible.

Belgian guitarist Kobe Van Cauwenberghe, who created the project 'No [more] Pussyfooting', with music by Brian Eno and Robert Fripp, and is a member of electric guitar quartet Zwerm, is currently affiliated with the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp for an artistic research project on the music of Anthony Braxton. In 2020 he released "Ghost Trance Solos" - a solo guitar album with three Braxton compositions from Ghost Trance Music. "Ghost Trance Septet plays Anthony Braxton" is a logical continuation of Kobe's work - four Braxton Ghost Trance Music series compositions, recorded by skilled Belgium-Danish septet.

More current Braxton music is rarely played by other musicians and it's a shame. Different from dominating composers, who often combine elements of different genres in one, Braxton returns back to a past trying to find the roots and the rules and codes, and uses what he finds in his new written music, on a genetic level, not like inspiration or imitation. As a result, his music sounds as an engineered work, mechanically, but not formal or dry, since each brick has its own lively soul.

Van Cauwenberghe's septet of guitar (who in moments demonstrates that he is familiar with shredding guitar techniques playing in rock bands), bassist, drummer, pianist, sax player and trumpeter play selected Braxton compositions with respect and their own touch at the same time. For me, the program sounds as if six skilled professionals build a modern building - a unique one, with style and respect to the past, but without nostalgia, bravely looking ahead. Four compositions, 95-minutes of music, recorded on two CDs, happen to be an intriguing listening, which surprisingly lasted less then it was expected. Nicely realized great idea - hope we will hear more Braxton compositions, recorded by younger generation artists more often.
Share this review

Review Comments

Post a public comment below | Send private message to the reviewer
Please login to post a shout
No shouts posted yet. Be the first member to do so above!


Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
A Love Supreme Post Bop
Buy this album from our partners
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
Buy this album from our partners
Blue Train Hard Bop
Buy this album from our partners
My Favorite Things Hard Bop
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

Eastern Sketchbook Nu Jazz
Buy this album from MMA partners
Kãrtëhl Jazz Related Rock
Buy this album from MMA partners
New Morning Third Stream
Buy this album from MMA partners
Blues For K (Vol. 1 & 2) Hard Bop
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Jazz Online Videos

New Morning
js· 13 hours ago
M'dout masaï (feat. Louis Winsberg)
js· 2 days ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions


Latest Jazz News


More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us