These twelve duets between African-American avant-gardist Anthony Braxton and Brit Derek Bailey are remarkable for several reasons, not the least of which is that this is the first recording of these two seminal figures performing in tandem. For this live concert, Braxton brought his array of horns: contrabass, soprano, and Bb clarinets, flute, and sopranino and alto saxophones, while Bailey alternated between amplified and acoustic 19-string guitars. Coming from entirely different traditions of free music, Braxton emits a more melodic, tonal approach, while Bailey exemplifies an atonal, abstract concept. The results are hugely successful, with the two meeting halfway. As an indication of Braxton's remarkable diversity, it is worth noting that he recorded his two mainstream In the Tradition albums for SteepleChase just the month before. The duo recorded here with Bailey is surprisingly accessible, and contrasts two complementary approaches within the free music genre.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy