It's there in the first few bars, those large augmented minors offering a foreboding look at the keyboard, the music in Marilyn Crispell's mind. That darkness is reminiscent of her mentor, Cecil Taylor, but that's all that come from him. The physicality Crispell lays down over the angular rhythms provided by drummer Gerry Hemingway and the modally charged bass work by Reggie Workman is based on an innate, and often deliberately shadowed under multi-faceted color schemes, lyricism. Crispell's songlike playing comes from out of the ethos of Boulez and Messiaen as much as it does from Mary Lou Williams or Taylor or Eric Dolphy. One can hear the lieder of Webern and even Kurt Weill and Berthold Brecht in her staggered improvisations that seek larger palettes for color, shape, and texture. Perhaps the most familiar piece here, which closes the set -- there are four shows represented here from the tour -- is the closer, "Angels," with its fly-by-not chromaticism that is whirled through a prism by Hemingway and Workman. In fact, Workman may be the only person who doesn't fly, so intent is he in keeping the piece rooted to the current musical language (and one has to wonder what would have happened if he didn't?). With a skittering cascade that becomes a rushing of one contrapuntal cascade into another, Crispell has done her job: she's presented a variety of musical languages and intertwined them for the listener to sort out.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek