"The music in this album is a result of our belief in a continuum that links the present with the past. Our spontaneous improvisations are true to those well defined principles basic to African American culture. Thank you for listening." - Max Roach / Anthony Braxton. This recording was the first to document their collaboration. All of the tracks are improvisations and it appears that the younger Braxton was the one taking the lead. If he keeps himself a bit restrained, steering clear of the extremes he's capable of, he also offers no easy footholds for Roach; there are no overt bop references to be found here. Instead, there are loose stabs at traditional African music as well as simply free-floating and lyrical improvised lines.
Roach sounds most comfortable when his partner ratchets up the ferocity level as on "Birth" and "Spirit Possession." The elder master then accompanies beautifully, offering up shifting and roiling patterns very reminiscent of West African, particularly Ghanaian, drumming. On the more pointillistic and quieter pieces, he sounds somewhat tentative, content to gamely follow along instead of prodding, but much credit is due Roach for being one of the few from his generation willing to meet his descendants on common ground.
Overall, about half the record cooks superbly and is worth hearing if only as a good example of how supposed inter-generational conflicts in jazz can be resolved