Anthony Braxton / Kyle Brenders Toronto (Duets) 2007

Across two discs, Braxton and his former pupil Brenders, both on saxophone and other reeds, interpret two pieces of Braxton's fascinating ghost trance music. Braxton's compositions are colourful and thoroughly engaging, offering a bridge from Ornette Coleman to Webern, with a battery of extended techniques to fill things out. The pieces contrast recurring, driving unison (or quasi-unison) sections with starker passages — rapid, speech-like squalls with loosely interwoven melodies. The most beautiful feature of the two works is how they retain a strange semblance of cyclical structural "integrity" while giving the sense that the whole form is disintegrating. Plenty of scope is left for both players to bring their vocabularies to the table. This is especially evident when each piece arrives at its climax, and least sober-point. Slippery and elusive, these sections navigate a spooky psychedelia rather than unleashing a macho free-jazz onslaught. The elder saxophonist's trademarked pinched sound finds a great match in Brenders' singingly warm tone. Both extremely curious about their instruments' capabilities, each tints and taints (in the best way possible) the two works with assorted soggy whispers, hoarse multiphonic wheezes and serrated barks. (Barnyard)