by Leonard Feather
[originally published in The Los Angeles Times, July 30, 1971, p. F14]
Also in town this week is the quartet known as Circle. At Shelly's Manne-Hole, their voyages of discovery are liable to create singularly hypnotic moments of unity, followed by atonal passages that are notable more for the intuitive intergroup communication than for their comprehensibility.
Circle involves two musicians whose qualifications are beyond cavil. Chick Corea at the piano and Dave Holland on bass, both former members of the Miles Davis group, are artists whose concepts race ahead so fast that only a phenomenal technique could enable their hands to keep pace with their minds. Clearly they are so endowed.
Barry Altschul at the drums seemed well-adjusted to the task of keeping abreast with the spontaneous developments charted out by Corea. Completing the group is Anthony Braxton, who is surrounded by about a dozen woodwind and reed instruments.
During my visit he was playing mostly clarinet. The notes outdistanced his control: I was able neither to be moved by what he played nor to find in it any rational order.
Circle's music represents a certain eclecticism, a straining for totality of sound experience that loses some of its emotional impact in the process.