Always one to try for something different, for this album Braxton organized two trios of well known avant-garde jazz musicians (he himself played in both groups) and recorded two side-long versions of the same composition, one of which has little to do with jazz, at least superficially. The piece, which is listed as "Composition 76" in the superb discography compiled by Francesco Martinelli (Bandecchi & Vivaldi Editore, 2000), is designed as a series of "routes" through a form, with agreed upon signposts along the way but with wide allowances for how the performers arrive there. These signposts include unison vocal refrains, staccato rhythmic lines and soft, sighing plaints from the horns. The extremely high caliber of the musicians which Braxton chose for this project guarantee some inspired playing and great imagination in working their way through this often forbidding territory. While admirers of his more jazz oriented work might find the music here daunting indeed, it repays careful listening and also strikes one as a seminal work that prefigures many of the concerns he would deal with later on in his collage-form structures written for his classic quartet of the '80s and '90s.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick