Violinist Coombes explains things perfectly in his hilarious liner notes. Beethoven, he says, realized that the piano and violin sound horrible together, the instruments literally hate each other, and gave up after ten sonatas. "For us to try and surmount Beethoven's problems, for example, in the heat of trying to make the music up as we go along is almost laughable." Nonetheless, a blindfold test of this record to a knowledgeable listener often results in the music being misidentified as, say, a composition by Charles Ives, and rarely as an improvised piece. By the time of this recording, these players had been working together in a variety of contexts and could almost read each other's thoughts, though with music this demented that might not be a good idea.
Coombes was a striking figure in this era; a slight, lean Englishman with an Angela Davis-type Afro, who was often clad in a dark duster. He would play on and on, often sounding like a collection of classical violin records being run through a cherry stoner. These duets are, above all, truly enjoyable to listen to. The timing is uncanny, as is the sense of drama. Decisions as to when to play hardly anything and when to unleash a bucketful of notes are intelligent, and often surprising."-Eugene Chadbourne, All Music
Reissue of Bead LP 16 with 6 more duo minutes plus a 12 minute violin solo. 75 minutes.