Selected Works 1983-1986: Solo Duo Quartet

Marilyn Crispell

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Selected Works 1983-1986: Solo Duo Quartet Review

by Fran├žois Couture

The two-CD set Selected Works 1983-1986: Solo, Duo, Quartet is a reissue of three of Marilyn Crispell's records from the 1980s. Rhythms Hung in Undrawn Sky, a studio recording from May 1983, showcases the pianist solo; And Your Ivory Voice Sings comes from a 1985 session with drummer Doug James; finally, Quartet Improvisations, Paris 1986 also features bassist Marcio Mattos, violinist Didier Petit, and drummer Yoval Mincemacher. Therefore, this set offers a comprehensive look at the pianist's work during that period. She was still very much influenced by her mentor Cecil Taylor, although there was a feminine delicateness to her playing that made her unique. The solo material runs into frequent veins of jazz references, along with pockets of romanticism. The session with James is more playful ("On and Off the Beaten Track"), and contains a piece dedicated to Taylor ("And Your Ivory Voice Sings") along with a profound rendition of John Coltrane's "After the Rain." The 38-minute "Quartet Improvisations, Paris 1986" contains the freer moments of the set. Crispell had a tendency in those days to lose a bit of her distinctive personality in group settings, but the piece remains an interesting encounter, very powerful thanks mostly to Mattos, even though the fade-out at the end can be quite frustrating. Since all three LPs were long out of print, this two-CD set is a must-have for fans.

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