Anthony Braxton

Duo (Wesleyan) 1994

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AllMusic Review by

Another chapter in Leo Records' exhaustive documentation of Anthony Braxton's many-sided art, this two-disc set is comprised of improvised duos with the percussionist Abraham Adzinyah. Braxton is never better than when he allows himself the most freedom. Here, though he is reined in a bit by the regular beat of Adzinyah's Middle-Eastern drumming, the saxophonist is relatively unencumbered by formal concerns; this is the best possible framework in which to hear Braxton's improvising. He and Adzinyah concoct some very intense vamps. The percussionist is a subtle accompanist. His time isn't great, by jazz standards; the pulse wanders a bit, though in this context, it's hardly relevant. Adzinyah has a nice feel for changing timbres, within the limitations of his apparently minimal drum set-up. In contexts like this, Braxton is the most focused and intense of improvisors. It's evident, when listening to him play what is essentially "free" music, how little he really needs in the way of external organization. Braxton's greatest strength (his always intriguing and sometimes brilliant compositions notwithstanding) is as a creator of his own spontaneous structures. This set is a prime example of how transcendent an artist he can be, when left to his own devices.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 51:13

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 49:47
blue highlight denotes track pick