From the opening contrabass clarinet gurgle, it's clear this is no ordinary free jazz album, despite the fact it was released on the quintessentially volcanic free jazz imprint BYG Actuel. This Time features Anthony Braxton on alto and soprano saxophones, clarinet and contrabass clarinet, flute, sound machine, chimes, and voice, Leo Smith on trumpet, flügelhorn, horns, logs, and siren, Leroy Jenkins on violin, viola, flute, mouth organ, and electronic organ, and Steve McCall on drums, percussion, and darbouka in a striking display of vintage AACM multi-instrumentalism. That instantly recognizable Chicago mix of dazzling virtuosity and toy town tinkles and toots still sounds as fresh and crisp as it did when it was recorded back in January 1970; as well as exploring the further reaches of virtuoso improvisation and surrealistic poetry (on the title track), Braxton also throws the windows of the cage (pun intended) open onto the outside world: "In the Street" was recorded where it says it was -- in the street. The other pieces are generically titled ("Solo," "Small Composition," "Composition," etc.) -- Braxton's idiosyncratic algebraic/geometrical titles don't feature here -- but are about as far from generic as you could hope to get. Wild, wonderful, insanely creative, and absolutely timeless.
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AllMusic Review by Dan Warburton