Sadly, it is easy for musicians to become pigeonholed. If an artist becomes known for one style of music, some marketing people will do everything they can to discourage him/her from trying anything else. But thankfully, Marilynn Seits doesn't feel the need to shackle herself to one genre 100% of the time. The pianist has done some interesting things in the new age field, but that doesn't prevent her from successfully embracing straight-ahead acoustic jazz on Karmic Tribute. The CD's title might give some people the impression that this is an album of modal or avant-garde jazz with strong Middle Eastern or Indian leanings -- something you would expect from Pharoah Sanders or Yusef Lateef. But in fact, Karmic Tribute is a collection of very inside piano jazz along the lines of Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and Marian McPartland. Playing unaccompanied solo piano, Seits pays tribute to a variety of fellow pianists, who range from Evans on "Time Remembered," Jarrett on "Coral," and Chick Corea on "Tones for Joan's Bones," to Charles Mingus on "Orange Was the Color of Her Dress," Carla Bley on "Ups and Downs," and Billy Strayhorn on "Lush Life." Not everything on Karmic Tribute was written by a pianist; "Falling Grace" and "Arise Her Eyes," for example, are by bassist Steve Swallow -- someone Bley has worked with extensively. But the compositions of pianists are the main focus of this CD, illustrating Seits' ability to step outside of new age and provide introspective, pensive jazz.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson