Alan Braufman

Infinite Love Infinite Tears (Valley of Search)

Contact Jacob Daneman about Alan Braufman

Today, the acclaimed saxophonist and flutist Alan Braufman announces his new record Infinite Love Infinite Tears, out May 17th via Valley of Search, and shares its lead single Edge of Time.” An integral part of the New York free music community since the 1970s and “a legend in free music” (Gilles Peterson, BBC), Infinite Love Infinite Tears is a continuation of the form of “optimistic free jazz” Braufman has become known for over the decades. The sounds you hear across his discography as a bandleader are richly detailed and forthright, embodying a range of emotions and circumstances that convey individuality, collectivity and hope. Produced by Braufman’s nephew Nabil Ayers, the album welcomes the damp glissandi and pointed globules of Patricia Brennan’s vibraphone. Bassist Ken Filiano, drummer Chad Taylor, tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, and percussionist Michael Wimberly (heard on two cuts) have worked with Braufman since 2018 both in concert and on record, lending a continuously unfolding familiarity to the proceedings.


All six pieces on Infinite Love emerged from Braufman’s near-constant mental soundtrack shortly before convening the band. Rarely does he sit down at the piano or assemble his horn to compose, instead singing tunes to himself and whatever sticks after a few days ends up in his composition book. The result is a surprisingly catchy program of “free jazz,” and as Braufman is keen to point out, four are in major key – a fairly uncommon approach in this music, which frequently relies on minor keys and non-western tonality. It’s not that there aren’t such shadings here, but the emphasis is on uplift. As he further adds, “I never have a nonmusical idea where I try to write the music to match. I write a song and ask myself what the song feels like.”


On the lead single “Edge of Time,” Braufman explains “The melody for ‘Edge of Time’ came to me a few years back, just part of the musical hum going on in my head pretty much in my head 24/7. It was quite fun turning this 9-bar melody into a coherent piece of music.”


Born in Brooklyn in 1951, Berklee-educated saxophonist, flutist, and composer Alan Braufman was an integral part of the New York free music community in the 1970s and 1980s, recording as a sideman with significant improvisational figures including Richard Landry (on whose 1972 LP Solos he debuted), Cecil McBee, Carla Bley, William Hooker, and Paul Nash, in addition to subbing for saxophonist Gary Windo in The Psychedelic Furs. At Berklee, Braufman had linked up with multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore (then known as Gene Ashton), saxophonist David S. Ware, bassist Chris Amberger, and drummer Marc Edwards. All but Edwards moved into a loft building at 501 Canal Street in New York in 1973; this space became a nexus of performance in lower Manhattan, hosting sessions by the cooperative Braufman/Cooper-Moore group in its storefront venue. A variation on this band with McBee and percussionists David Lee Jr. and Yohuru Ralph Williams recorded Valley of Search, Braufman’s debut as a leader, for India Navigation in 1975. Under the name Alan Michael, Braufman also recorded Lost In Asia for Passport in 1988, subsequently relocating to Salt Lake City.


As infectious as the music is on Infinite Love Infinite Tears – this record contains several ear-worms – it is still generative and complex. Braufman observes that “the thing about this band that made it so much fun to work with is we could play with structure and within that we could go completely free and it was a seamless transition to come back. I compare it to a house; you can spend all day outside, but it’s nice to know where home is.” The group is able to stretch out and reflect on optimism, beauty, and joy, finding dialogic phrases and a keening surge within the curvature of inside-outside playing. There is much history and love in this band, and in Alan Braufman’s art overall. Fifty-odd years after debuting on record, his sound-world is as vital and inviting as ever. With the additions of Brennan and Taylor alongside Lewis, Wimberly, and Filiano, Infinite Love Infinite Tears is the latest offering from Braufman and further cements his place in contemporary music.