|Saturn, Conjunct the Grand Canyon in a Sweet Embrace
Wadada Leo Smith & Anthony Braxton
Saturn, Conjunct the Grand Canyon in a Sweet Embrace is the second release, in the two part series, of a live duo performance of Wadada and Braxton. It was recorded April 5th, 2003 at Tonic in NYC.
Wadada and Braxton’s relationship dates back to their stay in Paris in the late 60s and their subsequent return to the states and New York City. The later beginning a new and incredibly fertile period of music in NYC, spurned on by the new Chicago transplants made up mostly of AACM members. This, along with Organic Resonance, is the first recording dedicated entirely to Wadada and Braxton’s duo music. Consisting of 3 pieces, one each by Wadada and Braxton, and then one penned by the two of them together, this might be the only opportunity that one has to hear this startling music.
Wadada’s music is filled with the space and use of color and texture that makes it immediately recognizable. Energetic yet graceful, it combines elements of music from many different cultures. Blues gets mixed with modern music in such a way that the result is as much an improvisation on the form and sounds as it is an improvisation of many different musical/cultural elements mixing together.
Braxton’s music here is a marked departure from his recent endeavors in Ghost Trance music. Braxton’s tone, raspy at times, is set off against Wadada. Waves of sound, often a single note bent and fleshed out, converge and mix in a dance of volume, shade and contour. With both players listening intensely to one another the character of “Composition 316” begins to make itself apparent slowly. The culmination is a pulling at the seams of the music, as Wadada and Braxton contrast and compare their interpretation and execution of the piece.
Unlike much music out there, Wadada and Braxton’s music is truly individual and systematic. Their respective approaches are the result of a lifetime of study and the formation and execution of ideas all pointing towards the documentation and realization of new horizons in music. The information and music contained in this CD will fuel a generation of musicians in the vocabulary of duo music for the time to come.