Here it is, the Mosaic’s awesome Anthony Braxton set, The Complete Arista Recordings, is a long-awaited dream-come-true for fans of the jazz avant-garde. The set’s liner notes were written by musician and scholar Mike Heffley, who gave Mosaic a draft that was twice as long as what they were able to use. Anthony Braxton is the sort of artist who triggers those heated “Is it jazz?” debates; whatever his music is, it is brilliant. By the time he signed with Arista Records in 1974 at the age of 29, he had emerged as one of the major figures in Chicago’s AACM, formed Circle with Chick Corea, Dave Holland and Barry Altchul and lived the expatriate life in Paris and moved freely in jazz and contemporary classical circles.
What made his output at Arista (1974-80) so unique was the range of projects he was able to realize thanks to the supportive budgets of a major label. This 8-CD set rescues his entire 14-LP Arista output from forgotten vaults. From live and studio recordings with his quartet (with Kenny Wheeler or George Lewis, Dave Holland and Barry Altschul) to solo alto excursions to a duet with Muhal Richard Abrams to Creative Orchestra Music to trios with Roscoe Mitchell/Joseph Jarman and Henry Threadgill/Douglas Ewert to his thoroughly composed pieces for two pianos and for four orchestras, Braxton explored every aspect of modern music through his own creative vision with astonishing results