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From 1974-1980 a series of recordings were made for the Sackville label representing Toronto performances by artists who were key ingredients in the cauldron of avant-garde jazz. The music is now being issued on CD for the first time, in limited editions of 1000 copies.
Anthony Braxton was among those who came to town. And what a choice he turned out to be! Seen in two combinations, the first in a trio with Smith and Teitelbaum on an original, and the second as a duo with Holland on three standards, he underscores his facile ability to slip in and permeate the music with his particular identity. The contrast between the two is startling, not only in the intensity but also in the character given to each.
The whoosh of the Moog heralds “Composition 36” and forms the curtain for the unison of the clarinet and trumpet. The horns diverge, but the conversation continues: sound, silence, probe, convolute, seek, find. The path is often divined through the abstract but the instinct for logical extension is compellingly manifested. Interspersed are interludes with percussion and chimes that add a nice shimmer.
Braxton picks up the alto saxophone for his ministrations with Holland. The duo is jaunty and swinging on “The Song Is You,” where Braxton improvises on the melody. He gets in to the trajectory of his freer impulses on the next two, edgier and fracturing the lines with little yelps, squawks and whorls, yet never ignoring the melody to which he returns in constant motion. All along, Holland turns in attention riveting solos, his textures deep and richly inventive. The music, then, is as much a treat for the mind as it is for the ear.
Track Listing: Composition 36; The Song Is you; Embraceable You; You Go To My Head