A duet performance between pianist Marilyn Crispell and clarinetist David Rothenberg offers nebulous mystery and thematic, ECM-style theatrical contexts you should expect from longtime veterans of creative improvised music. The liquid piano sound of Crispell and the pithy, earthy, throat tones of Rothenberg's bass clarinet in the main shapeshift back and forth during this mercurial program of deep blue, darkest night, after-hours modern jazz. It's not so much programmed as it states anchors of melody and centerpieces of coalesced thought process, rambles into free discourse, then returns to an identity. Fans of Crispell will note her evolving presence as a force for stark beauty during wandering but far from lost tracks such as "Tsering," or "Snow Suddenly Stopping Without Notice," also employing the inside strings of the piano, and using percussion instruments including bells. Rothenberg's expertise as an accompanist for Crispell is never more telling through all the material, but as a spontaneous improviser he's really in his element during "The Hawk & The Mouse," and especially a comical "Still Life with Woodpeckers" alongside Crispell's playful percussive rat-a-tat-tat. As intriguing as it is deep, spiritual, and compelling, these two have chemistry bubbling under the surface, with the kind of geothermic energy available to slightly warm up any living space, vacant or not.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos