Recorded live on the 4th Victoriaville Contemporary Music Festival, 4th October 1986 by SRC for the radio program "Jazz Sur le Vif"
This is a reunion of sorts, considering Anthony Braxton and Derek Bailey teamed for a series of duets in London during the '70s. Putting these two giants of improvised music together then and now seems a natural, but as is the case with their earlier efforts, this 1986 recording is a bit disappointing. Taken from a concert at Quebec's avant-garde Festival Musique Actuelle, Moment Precieux finds the two irascible soloists alternating between near silence and furious outbursts on the extended exploration "The Victoria and Albertville, Parts 1 & 2." Braxton is his usual serpentine and grating self on alto and soprano, while Bailey takes a minimalist and spiky approach on guitar, full of thrashing chords and chilling harmonics. Save for a few enlightened moments during the calmer passages, though, the two soloists hardly connect, opting instead to pursue singular roads of expression; unfortunately, when the two do come together, it sounds more obligatory than sympathetic. Maybe this is a result of a divide between the American jazz side of free improvisation (Braxton) and Europe's more wide-ranging take on the form (Bailey). Who knows. Intriguing solo moments aside, this is not a record to get if you are expecting an exciting collaboration between these two. For better duet records, check out Braxton and pianist Marilyn Crispell's Vancouver Duets (1989) or Bailey and saxophonist Evan Parker's Compatibles.
All Music Guide
"This one is a real treat: two giants of improvisation in pursuit of that enigmatic 'something' on a Canadian stage in 1986. Braxton, clearly derived from the jazz tradition; Bailey, restless occupant of a self-constructed world of non-idiomatic guitar. "Moment Precieux" was an instant improv classic upon its release twelve years ago and is a welcome reissue to CD format. Two long improvisations provide an illuminating view of these mercurial musicians. Bailey's spiky tones, chordal shards and strange harmonics are a source of constant wonder as Braxton's acidulous horn careers forth, spinning wildly into liquid motion and timbral extremes. "Spontaneity, attention, urgency", to quote Art Lange's accompanying notes, are the treasures available to us. Emotion and tranquility are also here. Emptying one's mind of preconceived notions of what true creativity should sound like is the key to experiencing the many delights of this great concert in full". Matt Krieg
Recorded live at the IV Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville (October 4, 1986) for the radio program "Jazz Sur le Vif."