Sunday, April 8, 2018

Anthony Braxton With Muhal Richard Abrams - 1976 - Duets 1976

Anthony Braxton With Muhal Richard Abrams 
Duets 1976

01. Miss Ann 4:10
02. Cut Two (Graphic Title) 10:21
03. Cut Three (Graphic Title) 7:02
04. Maple Leaf Rag 3:38
05. 36-MK74-128 13:13
06. Nickie 3:12

Saxophone, Clarinet – Anthony Braxton
Piano – Muhal Richard Abrams

Recorded on August 1 and 2, 1976 at Bearsville Studios, Woodstock, N.Y.

Anthony Braxton took major advantage of his few years with Arista to record a number of projects that, at the time, would have been very difficult to undertake on his own, as their commercial potential was nil. One of these was a duo project with AACM founder and guiding force Muhal Richard Abrams. The results are mixed, with a somewhat ragged approach balanced by enthusiastic playing and an intriguing choice of material. They open with a fine, rollicking version of Eric Dolphy's "Miss Ann" and later launch into, of all things, Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag." Now, Abrams had been playing and performing Joplin and other ragtime composers for many years, predating the early '70s revival occasioned by the movie The Sting, and he glides through the piece with flair and ease. Braxton, however, seems either uncomfortable playing catch up or, perhaps, simply unwilling to perform the music in a straightforward manner. In any case, it makes for a jerky, awkward rendition. Three of Braxton's compositions are also included, two of which are spare, probing sonic investigations while the last, "Composition 40B," is a hugely fun, pulsing number featuring the composer on his superbly unwieldy contrabass sax. The album closes in lovely fashion with a soft, romantic improvisation by the duo, dedicated to Braxton's wife.

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