Among Anthony Braxton's many interesting tendencies is his habit of performing in Belgian cafes. In early 2010, Leo Records released a double-CD set containing three Braxton duos with French contrebassiste Joëlle Léandre recorded at the Heidelberg Cafe in Loppen, Belgium on March 17, 2007. On this occasion Braxton used alto, soprano, and sopranino saxophones as well as his trusty contrabass clarinet. Léandre's historic collaborations with composers John Cage, Morton Feldman, and Giacinto Scelsi constitute a musical groundwork of fascinating relevance to Braxton's life and work. Her subsequent interactions with Braxtonians Derek Bailey and Marilyn Crispell magnify that relevance exponentially to the point where one might inquire why Braxton and Léandre haven't worked together more often. The music they shared at the Heidelberg Cafe is friendly, intimate, and intelligently pursued. Four months earlier in November 2006, Braxton had led a quartet in the interpretation of 36 jazz standards at the P.P. Cafe in Brussels. On February 17, 2007 he was spearheading a 70-minute investigation into his Composition 341 with a sextet at a jazz festival in Piacenza, Italy. Exactly one month later, he and Léandre made the recordings heard on this album. Never one to sit around waiting for things to happen, Braxton was back at Wesleyan University in Connecticut within seven days, working out realizations of Compositions 339 and 340 with vocalist Ann Rhodes.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2