Alto saxophonist and flutist Alan Braufman will perform music from his new album "Infinite Love Infinite Tears" (out May 17) as well as "Valley of Search" and "The Fire Still Burns." Braufman will be joined by his band featuring Patricia Brennan, Ken Filiano, Brandon Woody, and Newman Taylor Baker. Cooper-Moore will support with a solo piano set.

June 7, 2024
7:30 pm
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Simply put, music happens when we communicate feelings with sound. It is linguistic, evolutionary and continually being expanded and refined. Alto saxophonist and flutist Alan Braufman’s (b. 1951) music can be likened to “optimistic free jazz,” after a line in a review of his previous full-length, The Fire Still Burns (Valley of Search 004) by critic Daniel Spicer. The sounds you hear across his discography as a bandleader are richly detailed and forthright, embodying a range of emotions and circumstances that convey individuality, collectivity and hope. Infinite Love Infinite Tears is a slight update on its predecessor; scheduling challenges swapped out drummer Andrew Drury for Chad Taylor and instead of Cooper-Moore’s piano (Cooper-Moore and Braufman have collaborated since 1969), it features the damp glissandi and pointed globules of Patricia Brennan’s vibraphone. Bassist Ken Filiano, tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, and percussionist Michael Wimberly (heard on two cuts) have worked with Braufman since 2018 both in concert and on record, lending a continuously unfolding familiarity to the proceedings.

All six pieces on Infinite Love emerged from Braufman’s near-constant mental soundtrack shortly before convening the band. Rarely does he sit down at the piano or assemble his horn to compose, instead singing tunes to himself and whatever sticks after a few days ends up in his composition book. The result is a surprisingly catchy program of “free jazz,” and as Braufman is keen to point out, four are in major key – a fairly uncommon approach in this music, which frequently relies on minor keys and non-western tonality. It’s not that there aren’t such shadings here, but the emphasis is on uplift. As he further adds, “I never have a nonmusical idea where I try to write the music to match. I write a song and ask myself what the song feels like.” For example, “Brooklyn,” with textures of highlife and Afro-Caribbean music, was composed on a walk from Bed-Stuy to Clinton Hill after attending a concert at Sistas’ Place. The opener, “Chasing a Melody,” occupies territory akin to Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry, and though he grew up with their music, it’s a result of Braufman’s natural affinity for staccato brilliance rather than any 21st century grafting. Brennan and the rhythm section hang together with a voluminous push and slanting accents, providing a latticed sonic trajectory for the saxophonists’ unfurling poetics. Meanwhile, the title piece is a balladic caress fronted by flute and tenor, evoking the intensity of genuine feeling and freedom within its lapping melodic lines and allover rhythm.

As infectious as the music is on Infinite Love Infinite Tears – this record contains several ear-worms – it is still generative and complex. Braufman observes that “the thing about this band that made it so much fun to work with is we could play with structure and within that we could go completely free and it was a seamless transition to come back. I compare it to a house; you can spend all day outside, but it’s nice to know where home is." The group is able to stretch out and reflect on optimism, beauty, and joy, finding dialogic phrases and a keening surge within the curvature of inside-outside playing. There is much history and love in this band, and in Alan Braufman’s art overall. Fifty-odd years after debuting on record, his sound-world is as vital and inviting as ever.

Clifford Allen - January 2024

With support from Cooper-Moore (solo piano set)

Jun 7

Alan Braufman with support from Cooper-Moore