Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Marilyn Crispell, solo, and at her peak
Joe Pierre | Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/23/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Labyrinths" is a live solo concert by Marilyn Crispell from the Festival International De Musique Actuelle De Victoriaville held in 1987 in Quebec, Canada. The concert was recorded under the Victo label just after recording another landmark solo concert, "For Coltrane" in London few months before. The 1980's found Crispell collaborating heavily in separate groups with Anthony Braxton and Reggie Workman, and often stretching out in solo concerts in which she displayed her full range of free percussive explorations while still incorporating space and delicacy that even in her firey hey-day distinguished her from acknowledged influence Cecil Taylor.
Taylor's influence does abound in this concert though, unlike her work in the past decade that has increasingly moved into more spare, idyllic territory. The opening 12-minute "Threads of Ozone" is a study in hammer chords, while "Still Womb of Light," "Labryrinths," "Lazy Bird," "Au Chanteur Qui Danse" (which is even dedicated Taylor), and even the 2-minute "Encore" alternate between thundering chords and rapid, pointillistic runs that typify Taylor's, and Crispell's at this stage, work. The more Crispell-defining numbers on this album though are the cover of "You Don't Know What Love Is," which is a study in textures with Crispell simultaneously playing the keyboard as well as plucking and strumming the piano's strings from within, the Coltrane tune "After The Rain" which clearly follows the melody and abounds with shimmering trills as if in homage to McCoy Tyner, and the concluding encore cover of [Somewhere] "Over the Rainbow" that comes off as a soft, music-box lullaby.
The recording quality is quite good, and Crispell is in fine and full form throughout. The only slight oddity is that for a live concert, audience noise is all but edited out except for at the beginning of the second track and the first encore number. Perhaps the order was different during the actual performance. All in all, a very enjoyable solo date -- I prefer it, with it's more aggressive shades, to the 1995 date, "Live at Mills College.""