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Space: New Music for Woodwinds and Voice and An Interesting Breakfast Coversation

Space was one of the more intriguing cross-platform collaborations of the late ’70s and early ’80s. By then, Roscoe Mitchell had solidified his stature in post-Coleman jazz, and had begun to stake out a claim as a new-music composer. In vocalist Thomas Buckner and the late Gerald Oshita, who shared Mitchell’s penchant for extreme low-register horns, Mitchell found compatibility in heterogeneity. They made two LPs for 1750 Arch: New Music for Woodwinds and Voice, which featured improvisation-friendly compositions by Mitchell and Oshita; and An Interesting Breakfast Conversation, which was entirely improvised.

Reissued together, these two albums have retained a surprising amount of their provocative electricity. Space’s bold palette of tenor voice, astringent high reeds and bellowing low reeds, proved to be remarkably flexible on New Music, a program that ranged from the gruff turbulence of Oshita’s “Marche” to the languid counterpoint of Mitchell’s “Variations on Sketches From Bamboo, No. 1 and 2.” Their abilities as improvisers are more thoroughly detailed on their second LP, which lived up to its name by mixing bright banter and dreamy imagery.

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