Notes on The Tri-Axium Writings of Anthony Braxton: Construction and The Invitation

30 April 2023

Let's talk a little bit about the Construction section, wherein Mr. Braxton explains the paths into his work, literally. The recurring theme to me is approaching "a given concept from as many different standpoints as possible." I want to highlight and respond to a few things he says in this section.

"The thrust of this effort is conceived as a composite attempt to example the whole of earth creativity.... I am not concerned with only some aspect of what seems to be true - I am interested in what seems to be really true."

There's a humility in how he approaches this broadest of topics. He's not pounding his fist on a table, demanding the truth - he's aware that, in all of this analysis and cogitation, truth will seem to be true relative to the experiencer.

Each section has different sub-sections, articulating levels of inquiry ("levels"). The wording is a little twisted, so I will report back to see if I'm understanding what he's laying down, but I read:

Level One is focused discourse on the principal topic at hand, which will be split up into "approaches" which will be clear once you get into a section.

Level Two is a summary of each approach, though bringing each viewpoint/approach into a broader context.

Level Three is an interview format, shorter viewpoints. The intent with this section is to run the gamut of viewpoints for the section, from "all encompassing" to "closed exact definitions". I remember finding these the most accessible sections.

With that structure in place, he states that the books are constructed to be experienced in six (!) possible ways, each of which Braxton spells out and asks the reader to consider:

  1. read them front-to-back,
  2. read one level at a time (Level one for each section in sequence, the level two for each section in sequence, for example)
  3. read the whole book interconnected with the other books through the 'integration code' - the integration schematics - which are still just about overwhelming my language-parsing abilities.
  4. read only the concepts in bold (difficult to see the bold type in my addition, since I think it's a multiple-generation photocopy, a copy of a copy, and has lost sharpness in the text)
  5. study the glossary of terms to understand the integration matrices
  6. this is my favorite: translate my terminology into your own terms. "This is my viewpoint in this context, these are my terms, what do you think?"

This is the invitation: he's presenting this material to be considered from all contexts, experiences, histories, as truly objectively as it can be presented. Come on in and soak in it - it's not about only one point of view.