All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Extended Analysis

452

Max Roach & Anthony Braxton: Max Roach & Anthony Braxton: One In Two, Two In One

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Max Roach & Anthony Braxton
One In Two, Two In One
Hatology
2004



Revisiting the legacy of the drummer Max Roach, who passed aged 83 in August 2007, one is reminded that his years of great music making were not confined to the birth of bop in the 1940s or its morph into hard bop in the 1950s. Alone among bop's founding fathers, Roach was still turning it out in the late 1990s—still searching for new sounds and new styles and, more often than not, nailing them.



So while it is entirely appropriate that a benchmark early album like We Insist! Freedom Now Suite (Candid, 1960, 2007) has been reissued to commemorate Roach's passing—with more, including his hard bop explorations with trumpeter Clifford Brown, in the pipeline—Roach's work during the last forty years of his life also deserves to be celebrated.



Of Roach's important later albums, One In Two, Two In One, a duo with the multi-reed player Anthony Braxton, is actually a relatively early one. It was recorded in 1979 at Jazz Festival Willisau. Roach was 55 years old at the time, Braxton only 34.



It is an extraordinary album and an extraordinary cross-generation project, which works because the older man is still hungry for change and development and the younger is still referencing the music of his formative years. They meet somewhere in the middle and for 75 minutes, in one intimate and unbroken conversation, with barely a longueur amongst it, startle, transfix and delight the listener.



There were no preconceived details or predetermined structural outline for the performance, the chapters of which are marked by one of the two musicians switching instruments—Roach from drum kit to bells and gongs, for instance, or Braxton from soprano saxophone to clarinet. As the instrumentation and textures change, so does the mood of the music, from the fierce alto saxophone and snare drum work out halfway through "Part 1," to the delicate flute and tuned cymbals passage at the start of "Part 2", on to the straight-ahead, swinging alto saxophone and full traps closing movement.

There are 14 distinct chapters, almost all of them engrossing, with Braxton moving between soprano, sopranino and alto saxophones, clarinet, flute and contrabass clarinet. Roach switches between a conventional drum kit and close-up focus on just one tuned percussion instrument. Amongst the highlights is a 7 minute section early in "Part 1," with Braxton on contrabass clarinet creating wierd, fluttering, birdsong over Roach's multi-colored cymbals and bells. Close your eyes and you could be in a South American rainforest. Or on another planet entirely.

This is music which demands the full attention of the listener to reveal all of its considerable beauty—but it's not "difficult" music. It's consistently melodic, and often, but not always, played with a fixed meter. It's subtle, it's layered and it's got depth. It's a blast.


Tracks: Part 1; Part 2.

Personnel: Max Roach: drum kit, percussion, gongs, tuned cymbals; Anthony Braxton: alto, soprano and sopranino saxophones, clarinet and contrabass clarinet, flute.


Track Listing: Tracks: Part 1; Part 2.

Personnel: Personnel: Max Roach: drum kit, percussion, gongs, tuned cymbals; Anthony Braxton: alto, soprano and sopranino saxophones, clarinet and contrabass clarinet, flute.

Title: Max Roach & Anthony Braxton: One In Two, Two In One | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Hatology

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Sextet (Parker) 1993

Sextet (Parker) 1993

New Braxton House
2018

buy
3 Compositions (EEMHM) 2011

3 Compositions...

Firehouse 12 Records
2016

buy
Trio and Duet

Trio and Duet

Sackville
2015

buy

Related Articles

Read Greatest Other People's Hits Extended Analysis
Greatest Other People's Hits
by Doug Collette
Published: September 9, 2018
Read Heavy Music - The Complete Cameo Recordings 1966-1967 Extended Analysis
Heavy Music - The Complete Cameo Recordings 1966-1967
by Doug Collette
Published: September 8, 2018
Read Naima/Live in Berlin Extended Analysis
Naima/Live in Berlin
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 30, 2018
Read Kaya 40 Extended Analysis
Kaya 40
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 25, 2018
Read Anthem Of The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Extended Analysis
Anthem Of The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: August 4, 2018
Read Wodgi Extended Analysis
Wodgi
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 4, 2018
Read "In Memory of Lou Gare" Extended Analysis In Memory of Lou Gare
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 3, 2018
Read "Anthem Of The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" Extended Analysis Anthem Of The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: August 4, 2018
Read "GRANITE" Extended Analysis GRANITE
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 2, 2018
Read "Greatest Other People's Hits" Extended Analysis Greatest Other People's Hits
by Doug Collette
Published: September 9, 2018
Read "The Vintage Years 1970 - 1991" Extended Analysis The Vintage Years 1970 - 1991
by John Kelman
Published: June 23, 2018
Read "Naima/Live in Berlin" Extended Analysis Naima/Live in Berlin
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 30, 2018