Performed in real time on a variety of saxophones and clarinets plus drums and piano, “Shadow company” is a beautiful representation of these two artists’ corroborating playing as captured in 2004. Heated exchanges between wind instruments alternate moment of intense yet comfortless freedom and lyrical obedience to polyvalent schemes just waiting to be disintegrated by the burning breath of the musicians. A proper use of space and silence manages to capture the most authentic essence of an attentive reciprocal listening that’s almost visible during a vast portion of the record. I’m left quite amazed by the brilliance of Fine’s piano playing, which mixes digital monstrosities and accurate harmonic choices all in the space of fractions of seconds. While Braxton’s impulsive opinionatedness is also his greatest gift, his immaculate virtuoso insights will never be enough appreciated, even if a large amount of new music’s literacy owes something to him.


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