October 2001

Anthony Braxton with Alex Horwitz
Four Compositions (Duets) 2000
CIMP Recordings

Four Compositions consists of Horwitz reading from newspapers and books and occasionally commenting while Braxton plays saxes and clarinets. The CD is divided into 15 similar tracks, and it is impossible to tell from the liners which composition is heard at any time. Horwitz's monologues were randomly chosen; at three separate times he noisily wads his newspaper, and nine times he announces "departure path" and reads figures through a megaphone. While the versatile Braxton creates a variety of responses to the readings, at no time does he develop a line for more than a couple of minutes. Sometimes his movement makes for interesting music, as in his alto sax work in the first six minutes of track five, or his contrabass clarinet throughout track seven; the form of the final track, with fast, hot alto and few words, is notable. Of course, artists like Mingus, Baraka, Jarman, Shepp have made valuable words-music works; this is a few steps down from their world.

Originally published in October 2001

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