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TranceFormation: Crothers/Filiano/Wolper

TranceFormation subverts expectation on several counts. From the first moment, this seemingly traditional piano-bass-vocal formation leaves tradition behind: there are no assumed or assigned roles; no singer “in front,” no instruments “in back,” no leader, no sideplayers. Instead, three musical “voices” join to make music cooperatively as they weave in, out, and among one another, extending, bending, and experimenting with the sonic capabilities of their respective instruments. The group welcomes the inherent mystery of the music making process: the altered, trance- like state that is the source of free and uninhibited expression; deep listening; curiosity; the depth of trust��”in the self, in one another, in the music��”that allows them to be in the musical moment with ears and hearts wide open.

With every concert, Connie, Ken, and Andrea celebrate more than ten years of musical collaboration, inspiration, and abiding friendship. In mid-1998, Andrea and Ken began playing together, with Ken soon becoming the resident bassist in Andrea’s jazz trio. Later the same year, Andrea met Connie and became her student for several years. A few years down the road, Ken joined Connie’s quartet. In 2006, the circle was completed, when the three formed TranceFormation, and played their first concert at the International Society For Improvised Music Inaugural Conference at the University of Michigan. Since then, they have appeared as a trio at venues including Brecht Forum and The Stone.

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Album Review
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Knowing Ken and Connie (and by reputation, Andrea) as I do, the night’s second set could have con- sisted of practically anything. Although they’re adept at every aspect of jazz performance ��” “From Rag- time to No Time” (to quote the title of an album by the late Beaver Harris) ��” when left to their own devices they tend not to compartmentalize, but rather treat jazz as a seamless continuum wherein anything is possi- ble. This night, they dwelt mostly on the outer fringe, a place where convention is politely asked to sit down and shut the hell up. Like Liebowitz before them, the trio improvised freely, although they divided their performance into fewer and longer episodes

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