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Raymond MacDonald & Marilyn Crispell
Parallel Moments

Raymond MacDonald & Marilyn Crispell — Parallel Moments (24 February 2014)

United States   Raymond MacDonald & Marilyn Crispell — Parallel Moments 
♠   Je to dynamické setkání s avant jazzovou turbulencí, nové hudební zkoumání a osvědčená lyrická citlivost, v závislosti na kuse, na kompozici. Oba umělci se osvědčili se i jednotlivě, také na interaktivních úrovních.
♠   Jsou chvíle, kdy člověk slyší náznak vlivu (rechanneling) Anthony Braxtona ve více štiplavých chvílích pod rukou MacDonalda, ale jindy se zdá mít navrch hledání a nalezení vlastní osobní linie — vytváření osobitého zvuku — poetické osobnosti. Že se to všechno protne v centru a prolíná s osobností Marilyn, tedy velmi osobního pojetí moderního klavíru s nečekanými mini–tématy, ve finále to nelze nepocítit a tak Parallel Moments stojí za soustředěnou pozornost.
♠   One of the finest pianists in the jazz avant–garde, a dynamic leader and a player whose solos are propulsive and distinctive.
Born: March 30, 1947 in Philadelphia, PA
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Styles: Avant–Garde Jazz, Free Improvisation, Modern Creative, Jazz Instrument, Modern Free, Piano Jazz, Saxophone Jazz, Avant–Garde Music, Keyboard
Album release: 24 February 2014
Recorded: 17th November 2010 at the Vortex Jazz Club, London, as part of the London Jazz Festival and 18th November 2010 at The Premises Studios, London.
Record Label: Babel Label
Duration:     55:06
01 Longing     4:17
02 Town and City Halls     5:15
03 Conversation     11:09
04 A Subtle Freedom     2:37
05 Notes in the Sky     10:56
06 Illumination     6:30
07 Flame     1:55
08 Sun Song     5:08
09 Parallel Moments     5:33
10 Distant Voices     1:50
♠   Raymond MacDonald: alto and soprano saxophones;
♠   Marilyn Crispell: piano
♠   Babel Label was founded in 1994 by Oliver Weindling. It primarily records and releases jazz albums from UK artists.
By GLENN ASTARITA, Published: March 10, 2014 | Score: ****
♠   Philadelphia, PA, reared pianist Marilyn Crispell looms as one of the more prolific artisans of progressive jazz and avant–garde forums amid her affiliations with saxophonist, composer Anthony Braxton and bassist Gary Peacock, among others of note. Here, she aligns with highly respected Scottish saxophonist Raymond MacDonald, who is the co–founder of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra and also composes for film, theater and TV. Therefore, many of these improvisation–based duets tend to bridge various perspectives and thought processes, and such is the case here, on this recording captured live in 2010 at London’s Vortex Jazz Club.
♠   Indeed, the duo tenders a robust offering. With a cornucopia of micro–vignettes dispersed throughout the agenda, including bluesy after hours like vibes, they also trade peppery fours along with microtonal episodes, where you could probably hear a pin drop. The musicians throttle numerous currents via spurious dialogues and fragmented choruses while working through mini–themes, perhaps with the focus and intent that would be resident for solving a complex jigsaw puzzle. The duo expands contracts and on “A Subtle Freedom,” MacDonald’s searching notes ride above Crispell’s splintered patterns, as the tide shifts on the following piece “Notes in the Sky,” where the artists yield an intensely playful plot. Moreover, they moderate the flow with wistful sentiment but re–energize and catapult into whirlwind discourses. In other regions of sound and scope, they dish out a few hard–hitting, cyclonic ostinatos at a dizzying pace.
♠   Crispell caresses the piano strings, exuding a phantasmagorical hook that offsets MacDonald’s whirlwind lines on “Sun Song.” However, they go full throttle with a tumultuous free flowing jaunt on “Parallel Moments,” and experiment with variable tonal shadings towards the finale. Overall, it’s easy to discern that the musicians were ready for the occasion. They aim to excite the mind throughout this rather stirring, multilevel program that comes at you from a host of disparate angles. :: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/
Artist Biography by Ron Wynn
♠   One of the finest modern jazz pianists, Marilyn Crispell first emerged as an exciting, adventurous soloist and composer on the free scene in the early '80s. She was a member of the Anthony Braxton Quartet during the '80s and '90s, and also led a number of her own dates (mostly for Leo and Music & Arts) during this period. Although not as widely acclaimed as she deserves to be, Crispell has nevertheless gained an increasing amount of respect and fewer write–offs simply as a pianist in the Cecil Taylor vein.
♠   Crispell is a rarity in that she's not interested in hard bop, jazz/hip–hop, or fusion. Her style, with its slashing phrases, percussive mode, clusters, and speed, pays homage to Cecil Taylor (whom she reveres) but isn't merely an imitation. She's not as dance–oriented, and her use of space, African rhythms, and chording also recall Thelonious Monk and Paul Bley, two others she cites as influences, along with Leo Smith.
♠   Crispell started piano lessons at age seven at the Peabody Music School in Baltimore. She later studied piano and composition at the New England Conservatory in Boston. She abandoned music for marriage and medical work in 1969, but returned to the music world six years later, moving to Cape Cod after a divorce and being introduced to the sound of transitional John Coltrane (A Love Supreme) by pianist George Kahn. Crispell attended Karl Berger's Creative Music Studio and studied jazz harmony with Charlie Banacos in Boston. She met Anthony Braxton at the studio, and toured Europe with his Creative Music Orchestra in 1978, recording on his Composition 98 album in 1981. Crispell began playing solo and leading groups in the '80s, teaming with Billy Bang and John Betsch in one band. She made several albums on the Music & Arts and Leo labels, among others, working with Reggie Workman, Doug James, Andrew Cyrille, Anthony Davis, Tim Berne, Marcio Mattos, Eddie Prevost, and several others.
♠   Crispell continued recording throughout the '90s, yielding a number of incredible albums and interesting lineups that included her Braxton Quartet bandmates Mark Dresser and Gerry Hemingway, as well as sessions with Paul Motian, Irene Schweizer, Workman, Georg Graewe, Braxton, Gary Peacock, Fred Anderson, and many others, not to mention a few solo recordings, including Live at Mills College 1995. Marilyn Crispell has performed at a large number of jazz and avant–garde festivals, occasionally as a solo artist, as with her set at FIMAV 2000 (aka Victoriaville 2000), which preceded a solo set by Cecil Taylor. Since that time she has kept busy releasing Amaryllis in 2001, Storyteller in 2004, and Vignettes in 2008. :: http://www.allmusic.com/
♠   Parallel Moments is the breathtaking new album of duets by Scottish saxophonist Raymond MacDonald and American pianist Marilyn Crispell.
♠   From the outset, it’s clear that these collaborations — glistening with delicate melodies, textural intricacies, and soaring, passionate, freewheeling adventures — are the work of two superior musicians at the very height of their powers.There’s a palpable sense of real–time exploration and discovery running through many of these pieces.
♠   On the aptly named ‘Conversation’, Crispell’s oblique, ruminative motifs set a meditative tone. MacDonald comments with long, searching breaths, leaving space enough for the two to circle and sound each other’s mood. As they enter an energetic exchange of views, Crispell’s chords become more angular, caustic in their urgency, as MacDonald responds and counters with peppery brays and stabs, mocking flutters and tweets. Finally, resolution is reached — two friends agreeing to disagree. There’s also plenty here that confirms and underlines the two musicians’ diamond–bright avant–garde credentials.
♠   Hear how, on the title track, Crispell’s abrasive rubbing of the guts of the piano and percussive string preparations goad a quacking, fidgety alto from MacDonald. As he dives into fierce circular breathing, and Crispell responds with dizzying whirlpools, huge gouts of energy erupt like volcanic clouds. But there’s lyricism too.
♠   The opening track, ‘Longing’, perfectly captures the bittersweet pang of loving and wanting. As Crispell’s simple chords unfold with a gentle, unforced logic, MacDonald’s alto leaps and vaults, crying the blues of a heart–bursting yearning. It’s a breath–held cameo of intense beauty and precision.
♠   Parallel Moments will astound and delight anyone who still has faith in the power of music and spontaneity to sound the pure emotions of the soul.
♠   Raymond MacDonald is a saxophonist and composer who has written for film, television, theatre, radio and art installations. He has collaborated with musicians such as David Byrne and Jim O’Rourke as well as with many of the world’s leading free jazz and Improv players. He is a co–founder of the internationally respected Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra. Much of his work explores the boundaries and ambiguities between improvisation and composition.
♠   Marilyn Crispell has been a composer and performer of contemporary improvised music since 1978. For ten years, she was a member of the stellar Anthony Braxton Quartet and the Reggie Workman Ensemble. She has performed and recorded extensively as a soloist and with leading players on the American and international jazz scene, also working with dancers, poets, film–makers and visual artists, and teaching workshops in improvisation.
♠   “Hearing Marilyn Crispell play solo piano is like monitoring an active volcano. She is one of a very few pianists who rise to the challenge of free jazz.” — The New York Times
Bandcamp: http://babel-label.bandcamp.com/album/parallel-moments
Website: http://www.marilyncrispell.com/discography.htm
Contact information:
♠   Marilyn Crispell
♠   P.O. Box 499
♠   Woodstock, New York 12498
♠   845-679-5753
♠   MarilynCrispell@hotmail.com
Photo up: Photo by Claire Stefani
Photo below: Bobby Glazer

Raymond MacDonald & Marilyn Crispell
Parallel Moments



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