Just Another Ant
Saturday, 14. February 2004
"My flexibility is minus twelve points eight degrees"

The following is an amusing excerpt from Graham Lock's great and indispensable book "Forces In Motion. The Music and Thoughts of Anthony Braxton". The passage is remarkable because Braxton, who normally refuses to indulge in polemics against individuals, shortly abstains from this principle.

During the meal Braxton reminisces about the music business, telling us about his meeting with Sidney Bernstein, the rock impresario, who, for a short time, was Ornette Coleman's manager.
'Boy, you should've seen his office, walls covered with gold discs, thick carpets, this enormous sofa that I
sank into. And you know how these guys talk: "Anthony, I want you to know I respect your work, truly, but you gotta forget everything you've done in the past. No, hear me out: I can guarantee I'll make you half a million dollars in the next nine months, that's half-a-mill-i-on-dollars, but there's one condition - you have to do everything I tell you. OK, OK, I know you have your ideals, believe me I can relate to that, but ideals aren't gonna feed your family, are they? Anthony, let's be realistic, huh? We think you should record with Johnny Chickenshit - no, no, let me finish - Johnny's also on our books, he's a very good musician, the critics think so, and he's popular, mean, we think this will be a viable commercial product. Of course, you will have to be a bit more flexible about your music...OK, I appreciate you have your dreams, but c'mon, are you gonna let your children starve for the sake of a few dreams? Anthony, just sign the contract, huh? Don't you owe your children that much? Is a little flexibility such an unreasonable thing to ask in return for all the money you ever wanted?"'
Braxton shakes his head, eyes wide in disbelief. 'I'm sitting there,
still sinking into the danged sofa, thinking, "Uh? What is this?" I told him, thank you very much sir, but when it comes to my music, my flexibility is minus twelve points eight degrees.

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