Connie Crothers

Ontology

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The Connie Crothers Quartet is the prime exponent of the teachings of Lennie Tristano. And like most disciples, Crothers mixes devotion to the notions of her teacher with a knack for emphasizing certain aspects of his philosophy. Hers is not a rote rendition of how Tristano would sound -- not that the master would want that. Rather Crothers practices a freewheeling version of Tristano. On the title track she builds dense clusters of sound, chord piled on chord piled on chord. She mixes these clusters with riffles of sounds that skirt the pull of the tonality. For his part, saxophonist Richard Tabnik's utterances are warped, yet beautiful exaggerations of the work of original Tristano compatriots Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz. Drummer Roger Mancuso brings experience playing with Tristano to the mix, and his playing is highly sympathetic. Tristano favored steady time above all else in a drummer, though he was not as dogmatic as often assumed. Mancuso lays down the time, but is not afraid to color the work of the ensemble with well-placed splashes and crashes along the way. Bassist Sean Smith provides a melodic undercurrent. An enjoyable demonstration of just how fertile this line still is.

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