Alan (allen) Braufman

Alto saxophonist and flutist Alan Braufman (b. Brooklyn, 1951) and pianist/multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore (b. Loudoun County, Virginia, 1946) began working together in Boston around 1969 while Braufman was studying at Berklee. They had moved to New York in 1973 with bassist Chris Amberger, saxophonist David S. Ware and drummer Marc Edwards. Braufman’s 1975 album Valley of Search (India Navigation 10024), was recorded after two years of living together and performing in the loft’s rehearsal and performance space. It was reissued as Valley of Search 101 in 2018. Valley of Search, a rare rarity that documented serious loft-era improvised musical compositions, was out of print until recently. However, the album’s stark black and white cover and heavyweight vinyl grooves were a symbol of friendship. Music is about sharing information, beliefs and emotions. It can also lead to lasting sonic or personal relationships. Braufman, William Parker, and CooperMoore gathered for a small concert in Cooper-Moore’s East Harlem home. This was the first time they had performed together since the 1980s. Braufman said, “CooperMoore and me have this relationship – he’s mine best friend, and i’m not one who stays in touch with people so my closest friends are those that we don’t speak for two years and then the next time we talk, it’s as if we never stopped talking.” Cooper-Moore and I have had a constant level of communication. I called him up and he said, “Next time you come, let’s do that.” The concert was at Manna House, Bertha Hope’s music school and venue, where the trio was joined by Darius Jones and Brian Price as well as Chad Taylor as drummer. There was also a 2016 Vision Festival performance featuring Braufman and Price as well as Cooper-Moore and Michael Wimberly as percussionists. Although a match was made, Braufman was still living in Salt Lake City and it was difficult to find more work. Valley of Search was released. In 2018, a commemorative concert was held, and the pair reunited to wax The Fire Still Burns in 2019. The ensemble consisted of James Brandon Lewis, Ken Filiano, and Andrew Drury, drummer. Wimberly is featured on two tracks. Braufman said that Andrew and Ken were recommended by Cooper-Moore, and he is so grateful he did. They are amazing musicians and people. James was the one I chose. I was considering Valley of Search’s lack of a second horn. It wasn’t that I needed it, but I wanted to play with James, so this was an opportunity. I love his music, his playing and his person. When I had the opportunity to record, I decided to keep the exact same band.” While the musicians have a long history, it’s their empathy as well as their skill that makes this record so special. Alan Braufman.png There is an important difference between Valley of Search, and The Fire Still Burns. The first LP was born out of playing in intense, sometimes lawless conditions, such as the 1970s Lower Manhattan. While Braufman is primarily responsible for its melodies, both musicians actually lived and breathed these pieces. Braufman composed all the pieces for The Fire Still Burns from Salt Lake City and brought them along to the session. He says that he writes a lot but not enough to get it through my editing process. Once I have an idea, I can develop it. But this was magic in the sense that Nabil [Ayers], [producer],] once said “let’s make an album”, and all of a sudden, ideas just appeared. “Home” was composed by me just doodles on my piano. I completed it in twenty minutes. The year before we recorded I was teaching at Utah State University, and it was an hour and a half drive each way once a week so a few of them I wrote in the car just humming, and they stayed with me.” Commonly, the spiritual influence of figures like multi-instrumentalist Don Cherry permeates both albums. Cooper-Moore says that Don was our leader and one of the things we both believe is true. Don’s spirit was the key to our playing together. He was more open than many other cats and had a wider range of opinions. Although I love ‘Trane’ and Ornette, my favorite is Don. He was open to all musics and the entire world was his audience. Braufman says that he would play with everyone.” You break the entire chain of continuity by stopping a tune. When I wrote Valley of Search with Canal Street, it was important that it be kept as a complete suite. That’s because it was how we performed live. Don was an influence and his band with Gato Barbieri, [tenor saxophonist] Gato Barbieri — Gato did not so much influence me musically as I did my approach to the Saxophone and my sound. The Fire Still Burns has the gritty, forthright sensibility that we want to hear in sonic collaboratives that are born out of beauty and struggle but also have the populist ease that comes from age and reflection. Braufman’s melodies have a hooky, vibrant sound that sometimes has a Kwela-like quality to them. His alto still has the vibrato of Jackie McLean or Jimmy Lyons, and his rich, deep voice is a great balance to his front-line. A swell rhythm propels the proceedings forward, supported by spiky runs and chunky piano chords, which are hooked into the unflagging movement of Filiano, Drury and Wimberly. Cooper-Moore says that Alan was able to create his idea early and will not change. He owns it, even though it sounds “not American”, and he has his own tone world. His harmony and the way that changes happen are unlike any other I have ever seen. His language is beautiful, mine is not. He’s a natural musician, with a unique style and full of celebration. Now, Alan Braufman u0026 Cooper-Moore will bring it home. Clifford Allen Brooklyn, April 2020

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