Anthony Braxton and Fred Frith each have about as close a relationship to the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville as just about any non-Canadians. The first release on Victo, the label run by the producers of the annual Canadian festival, was a guitar duo with Frith and Rene Lussier; the second was a duet between Braxton and Derek Bailey. Until this year, each had released three discs on the label. But 2005 was the Year of Braxton and the label has released three new Braxton titles recorded during last year's festival, including this duo with Frith.
Over just under an hour's time, Braxton and Frith show more than anything else what it means to be a master improviser: not quoting past masters, not riffing off each other, but simply playing with conviction and having the patience, fortitude, technique and vision to stick with and develop ideas without inflating egos. Braxton's saxophones tend to stand out front, if only for the nature of the loud, monophonic instruments, while Frith loops and manipulates his electric guitar, creating multiple beds and often sounding like an entire backup band for his partner's solos.
The things that could be remarkable about this discthe crossing of the players' backgrounds (jazz/rock-improv), heritage (Chicago/England) and race; the improv meeting of two accomplished composers; the chance to hear two professors (Wesleyan University/Mills College) roll up their sleevesaren't. Nor does the recording beg for the promise of an ongoing collaboration. It is what it is, a chance encounter that paid off royally.
Track Listing: Improvisation No 1; Improvisation No 2; Improvisation No 3; Improvisation No 4; Improvisation No 5.
Personnel: Anthony Braxton: saxophones; Fred Frith: guitar.
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!