Circle – Paris-Concert

Released in 1972 by ECM Records

Recorded February 21, 1971

Format: LPx2


While more cerebral than emotive, this live set is a frenzied demonstration of what four virtuosic musicians sound like when they give in to the intuitive whims of collective improvisation. Even when playing a composition, Wayne Shorter’s classic “Nefertiti” for example, they stretch and mutate the melody into every possible pattern without ever playing it directly. The group interplay is often bombastic and can be overwhelming, but thankfully they vary the dynamics through solo and duo pieces (like Holland’s unaccompanied bass on “Song for the Newborn” or Corea and Braxton’s “Duet”). The standout piece would have to be the Holland composition “Toy Room – Q&A” which features some beautiful bowed bass from him and fluttering flute from Braxton. Highly recommended for anyone who likes hearing musicians push themselves to their limits.


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