Is there any composer on the planet more wonderfully enigmatic than Anthony Braxton? Jazz saxophonist, ecstatic mystic, academic theorist, certified MacArthur “genius,” all-around American original — call him what you want, Braxton brought his Diamond Curtain Wall Quartet to the Terrace Theater on Saturday night for an extended set of some of the most inventive, maddening and impossible-to-pigeonhole music heard at the Kennedy Center in some time.
Braxton, of course, has been punching at the edges of new music since the late 1960s, and at age 67 he shows no sign of letting up. His music makes few concessions to comfort; neither jazz nor classical, it’s rooted in an almost impenetrable theoretical framework, and even the cryptic titles — such as “Composition #367F plus #241,” which made up Saturday’s entire 80-minute program — make the average ear curl up in alarm. But it’s also music of extraordinary vitality and a kind of seductive, cerebral beauty, marrying the anything-goes language of free jazz with the complex structures of the more — forgive the term — “serious” world of classical music.