Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Breath-taking, hair-raising, unconventional jazz
John Grabowski | USA | 06/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jazz fans pride themselves on their cutting-edge music and their own cutting-edge tastes ... and then merrily march off to the latest Marsalis revival concert, feeling hip. Meanwhile how many even hard-core jazz fans have heard the stunning pianism of Liz Gorrill? Now, partly this is her own fault: the lady is a bit of a recluse there in upstate New York. But she has about five albums out right now, and as you can see by the lack of reviews here or anywhere, hardly anyone's buying them. Liz was a student of Lennie Tristano, so I can tell you right now if you're expected funky, foot-tapping blues to forget it. This is cerebral jazz, terra incognita, with fleet fingering and wild, dense, clashing harmonies, and it requires repeated listening to sort it all out. Liz never met a dissonance she didn't like, and she likes to take most of them at Mach 3. Here in such freewheeling performances as "Another Universe" or "Cosmic Comedy" ideas flow at the speed of light, Gorrill brings up new ideas so fast you've barely registered them before they're gone. Her biggest problem seems to be finding players with chops to match hers--Fite often sounds like he's hanging on for dear life here, and at times even seems lost. On all these tracks Gorrill--this slender girl who looks like she could be knocked over by a strong breeze--dominates, the way Louis Armstrong dominated on the Hot Five sides, the way Yardbird dominated in every Quintet record he ever made, or the way Ellington dominated when he simply walked into a room. Listening to her is so exhilarating it can make one's head spin (in a wonderful way). Under her fingers bar lines melt away, keys meld, thousands of individual sounds swirl and roar together to make a titanic whole. Yet--and this is the amazing part--it's all structured. It's not "free" jazz, yet it's very free. It's not rote and metronomic, yet it's as organized as the most intricate classical composition. More exploration needs to be made in their realm of jazz, where, for whatever reason, most if not all of the innovators have been white and therefore largely ignored by the mainstream jazz press intent on finding the next neo-bop trumpeter with shades and a pinstripe suit. Incredible music-making here...but is anybody listening?"