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Ronni Reich, July 2013

Written for the Asphalt Orchestra, a marching band formed in 2009 by the creators of new music organization Bang on a Can, Braxton’s piece pays homage to tradition but sounds fresh. Recorded on the group’s 2011 title release, the work opens with fanfares and animated bursts of percussion and gains in depth and intricacy as it expands to encompass deep, resonant sustained tones and euphoric woodwind and brass whirls and exclamations. As the work becomes increasingly layered, the overall mood is so infectiously cheery that no matter how little you think you need to hear Ravel’s “Bolero” again, when Braxton’s work echoes it, he gets a smile. © 2013

Scott Morrow
Alarm Press, December 2010

Asphalt Orchestra is a 12-piece marching ensemble that performs brass-led covers of eclectic selections as well as commissions from esteemed songwriters. The group’s self-titled debut is a luminous romp, reimagining tunes from Frank Zappa, Charles Mingus, Meshuggah, and Björk with equal ease.

With matching uniforms and a diverse songbook, the group draws comparisons to Chicago’s Mucca Pazza. This NYC ensemble, however, employs choreographed moves and even more crowd interaction. If you get the chance, don’t miss them on your street.

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