Amina Claudine Myers

Poems for Piano: The Piano Music of Marion Brown

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Alto saxophonist Marion Brown made his reputation during the '60s as a member of several fire-breathing avant-garde ensembles, including those of John Coltrane and Archie Shepp, and also through his performances with leading lights from the European free jazz community. In the early '70s, his music took an introspective, personal turn as he began composing music centered around his childhood in Georgia and the poems of fellow Georgian Jean Toomer. Still, this album of solo piano works, beautifully performed by AACM veteran Amina Claudine Myers, came as a surprise not only for its melancholy romanticism, but also for the clear influence of composers like Erik Satie. It opens with a suite based on Toomer's work that includes the gorgeous "Sweet Earth Flying" and "November Cotton Flower," both previously recorded by Brown's working bands, and concludes with "Evening Song," a haunting, bittersweet composition that recalls some of Satie's more austere pieces. "Sunday Comedown" is a delicious, down-home song that allows Myers to fully delve into her gospel roots, as do several other tracks, including her own "Going Home." Poems for Piano is a superb recording, offering abundant evidence of both Marion Brown's deep and sensitive compositional gifts and Amina Claudine Myers' all-too-unrecognized strengths as a player and interpreter. Highly recommended.

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