Not released until 24 years after it was recorded, this classic solo album by one of the giants of the saxophone is a welcome addition to Anthony Braxton's discography. Performing solely on alto sax, there is a searing lyricism and a surprisingly jazz-oriented underpinning to even the most abstract of Braxton's improvisations. While most of the compositions are originals, the two that are not -- "You Go to My Head" and "Impressions" -- reveal Braxton's remarkable ability to delve deeply inside a song's structure and make it his own. In later years, Braxton often revealed a mellow tinge to his playing, even in solo performances. The instant release, though, reveals him in an energetic mood, and should satisfy those who appreciate his more radical side within the "mainstream" of the jazz avant-garde. He barks, screeches (though only occasionally and in characteristically good taste), and shows some outstanding technical skills, including incredible speed. While he has recorded some of these compositions elsewhere (for example, as Steve Day writes in the liner notes, four of the compositions appear on the impressive Alto Saxophone Improvisations 1979), Braxton is in peak form on this one and the results are uniformly excellent. Braxton enthusiasts (and others, too) will want this in their collections.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy