Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Stellar Pulsations/Three Composers
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Of all the post-Cecil Taylor pianists . . .
Jan P. Dennis | Monument, CO USA | 02/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
". . . Marilyn Crispell seems to me to have the chops and sheer musicality to stay in the game the longest.This outing finds her in a variety of settings that might be described as what Taylor perhaps would have sounded like if he could have achieved a hightened lyricism.It would be disengenuous for me to claim to understand all that is going on with these ambitious pieces from a technical standpoint; I just don't have the formal training to interact with them at that level. But I think I do, at least, have sufficiently big ears to know that something special, something eminently worth hearing, is going down here.There's a sweep and pianistic grandeur about these pieces that simply cannot be gainsaid--kinda like when one finds onself in Western Kansas or Northeastern New Mexico and just has to deal with the expanse of sky and the desolate aridity; not something you can blythely ignore. Nor can you ignore Crispell's huge pianistic presence, dominating the soundscape as the vast expanse of prairie presides over the above places.The first of these three compositions is probably most daunting from a mere soundscape perspective--just two pianos, sans rhythm or solo wind voices to mitigate the starkness. But Crispell and Ellen Polansky on second piano manage to corral the feral sensibilities of this piece and, in so far as is possible in the wild and wooly world of the avant-garde, tame its most outre instincts and bust its chops, so to speak, rendering it, if not a broke bronc, at least one the average cowpoke-listener can deal with. The second features the formidable duo of bad boy Don Byron on clarinet and percussionist extraordinare Gerry Hemingway on drums joining up with the leader. Based on thematic materials from revived Medieval superstar Hildegard von Bingen's "O Quam Mirabilis," it is by turns somber, elegiac, and ecstatic making the listener wish for additional expressions of this trio's magical musicianship.But the real action--at least for this hearer--goes down on the final piece, scored for piano and the WDR Radio Orcherstra. The expanded musical palette perfectly suits Crispell's expressive yet probing approach. Passages of real beauty and poignancy emerge from the generally dense soundscape. There's a weird Middle Eastern/Oriental mysterioso feel, filtered through some almost eldritch-sounding Ellingtonian vibe, esp. to the Foruth Movement, that is very attractive and perfectly suits Marilyn's approach.All in all, one of the more successful classical/jazz amalgams, far surpassing, e.g., Scorched, the John Scofield/Mark-Anthony Turnage outing. Certainly worth a listen."