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Anthony Braxton and Gerry Hemingway

Published: 2010-07-11
Anthony Braxton The saxophonist Anthony Braxton and the drummer Gerry Hemingway share a discrete chunk of the new-music timeline.

From the early 1980s through the mid-'90s, when Mr. Hemingway was a member of Mr. Braxton's quartet.

The two musicians hadn't worked seriously together for over a decade when they recorded some duo improvisations a few years ago at Wesleyan University, where Mr. Braxton enjoys a magisterial tenure. “Old Dogs (2007)" (Mode/Avant) gathers the music on four CDs, each conveying an on-the-fly formal coherence, and each otherwise distinct. ("Invention 8207AM," Disc 3, strikes me as the best of the batch. For now.)

Mr. Braxton ranges broadly within the saxophone family, from B-flat contrabass to E-flat sopranino, and Mr. Hemingway supplements his drum kit with samplers, harmonica, mallet percussion and occasional vocals. Their output feels both sweeping and intimate, never glib, and rich with unfolding possibility.


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