CD: Marilyn Crispell, Vignettes

(ECM)

Baltimore-raised pianist Marilyn Crispell, a baroque-classical student who jumped ship after hearing John Coltrane's A Love Supreme, went on to become an intelligent and resourceful keyboard partner (over 15 years) for that uncompromising radical Anthony Braxton. In recent times, she has become more reflective - like a more abstract Bill Evans - and Nordic ambient-jazz influences (one of the tracks here is simply called Sweden) have gradually displaced her ferocious intensity. This set of 17 pieces - seven of them entitled Vignettes - is the pianist's debut as an unaccompanied soloist for ECM. There are hints of Paul Bley's lyrical precision and Jarrett's song motifs in this private, slow-moving, but exquisitely articulated, dreamscape. The melodies often bloom, Bley-like, in short motifs on to which asides fall and accumulate, and though there are a few jagged, more intense pieces (such as the hurtling Axis), most of the episodes are meditative. The minimal, treble-note caresses of the three-minute Little Song for My Father is a quiet but momentous testament to the eloquence of music.

Contributor

John Fordham

The GuardianTramp

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