Top Student Responses to Anthony Braxton’s For Alto
This past week I taught jazz history at a jazz camp for high school students. One day we listened to a wide variety of music and debated whether or not the pieces could be considered to be jazz. The second piece I played was “To Composer John Cage” which is from Anthony Braxton’s album For Alto. It was pretty shocking to the bulk of the campers, most of whom I’d guess hadn’t heard anything quite like it before. Needless to say, there were some pretty great reactions from the students. Here are some of my favorites:
- “It doesn’t really sound like anything”
- “It sounds like Al Capone is torturing someone for information”
- “It sounds like a kid with Tourette Syndrome in band class”
and my favorite…..
- “Who is John Cage and what did he ever do to Anthony Braxton?”
If you haven’t heard “To Composer John Cage,” or would like to revisit it, here you go….