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Anthony Braxton/Scott Rosenberg: Compositions/Improvisations 2000

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When he abandons the alto, Braxton’s solos can stand with any contemporary saxophonist. He emerges the dominant voice on the date Compositions/Improvisations 2000, an encounter with another multiple-saxophone stylist, Scott Rosenberg. Rosenberg displays wit and verve on tenor, but his sopranino, alto and contrabass clarinet work pale next to Braxton’s. Braxton is not only more fluid and imaginative, his solos here are as moving as he’s done on any recent date. The sounds he gets from obscure instruments like E-flat contralto or C-melody saxophones reveal his genuine abilities; he’s far more interesting and convincing on the C-melody sax than the heralded James Carter, for example (though Carter can certainly demolish Braxton when playing the blues). The short improvisation sections are inferior to the lengthy compositions, mainly because the one- and two-minute pieces degenerate into macho blowing confrontations almost as soon as the duo begins playing.