Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

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

More Articles

Read Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981 Extended Analysis Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981
by Doug Collette
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Love, Gloom, Cash, Love Extended Analysis Love, Gloom, Cash, Love
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Motel Shot: Expanded Edition Extended Analysis Motel Shot: Expanded Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017
Read Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe  Edition Extended Analysis Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th...
by Doug Collette
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "Grateful Dead: Cornell '77" Extended Analysis Grateful Dead: Cornell '77
by Doug Collette
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "Phish: St. Louis '93" Extended Analysis Phish: St. Louis '93
by Doug Collette
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Chicago II (Steven Wilson Remix)" Extended Analysis Chicago II (Steven Wilson Remix)
by John Kelman
Published: February 12, 2017
Read "Ella Fitzgerald: 100 Songs For A Centennial" Extended Analysis Ella Fitzgerald: 100 Songs For A Centennial
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 29, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor