Thomas Buckner / Roscoe Mitchell

8 O'Clock: Two Improvisations by Roscoe Mitchell and Thomas Buckner

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Baritone Thomas Buckner and saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell have been playing together for many years. The former's record label, Mutable Music, reissued early in 2001 the two Space LPs they recorded during the early '80s with Gerald Oshita. It was only fitting that after this nostalgic step, a new recording would follow to re-inscribe their collaboration in present times. 8 O'Clock: Two Improvisations was recorded in a studio on a December evening in 2000. As the years passed, Buckner's voice lost its slightly affected tone and gained depth, roundness, and flexibility. Roscoe Mitchell's participation in the AACM and the Art Ensemble of Chicago made him a legend. Here he performs on alto and soprano saxophone, but also on flute and percussion. The sound palette is therefore quite wide for a duo. The first improvisation lasts 45 minutes, the second a little over 20 minutes. Both focus on the deep understanding existing between the two improvisers. The music never escalates -- it remains calm, delicate, and almost restrained at times. The second improv follows an even sparser mood. Listeners will be more used to Mitchell's horn playing, but the time he spends on small percussion instruments is welcomed: it brings a change of pace and triggers a new set of inflections from Buckner. The performance lacks some involvement but remains enjoyable throughout.

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