193

Marilyn Crispell: Vignettes

Martin Longley By

Sign in to view read count
Marilyn Crispell: Vignettes Pianist Marilyn Crispell was always primarily known as a stylistic descendant of Cecil Taylor, never resting for a moment as she spewed out endless runs of high invention, cascades of pointillistically constructed density. But everyone becomes calmer eventually and this solo piano set finds Crispell in an extremely introverted state, examining the relationship between carefully enunciated melody and expansive silence.

There are seven vignettes, interspersed between longer, more overtly tuneful pieces, nearly all composed by Crispell. Merging like a suite, the mostly short compositions amass a mood of spiritual contemplation, aided by the acoustics of Auditorio Radio Svizzera, in Lugano, Switzerland, a regular home for ECM recordings over the years.

Crispell says that she deliberately set out to hold back, believing that it's more difficult to leave poignant spaces than to fill them with constant chatter. She employs varying ratios of composition and improvisation and as these vocabularies generally become ever more sophisticated, such natures have a tendency to become increasingly merged. Often, the vignette pieces are amongst the quietest. A visit to Sweden in 1992 made Crispell aware of the windswept solitude possibilities of non-American jazz. At other times, as with "Vignette III" and "VI," they involve a spidering flash of hyperactivity, all the more startling when set within an overall peacefulness. It's hard to avoid the word lyrical. "Vignette VII" has a deep resonance that co-exists with a harp-like high note shiver, whilst Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen's "Stilleweg" provides an atypically folksy romp.

The launch party for this disc at New York's Birdland in late April, 2008 found Crispell in a suitably restrained mood, setting out to replicate the sound of the album with a naturally commanding aura. Birdland is lately getting to be the home of exceedingly quiet music, with recent showings by Carla Bley and Regina Carter operating on a nearly all-acoustic level. Crispell went even further, making the audience conscious of every dinnertime munch, timing mastication to coincide with each vignette's progress.

Such is her authority that the audience was caught in a spell of complete concentration, with a jazz club rarely being such a temple of contemplation. Sometimes, the themes would edge toward the bland, or the pace would seem too slow, even for the serial meditator, but mostly Crispell managed to spread her fingers over the entire room, drawing in the crowd towards her private emotional realm.


Track Listing: Vignette I; Valse Triste; Cuida Tu Espiritu; Gathering Light; Vignette II; Vignette III; Vignette IV; Vignette V; Sweden; Once; Axis; Vignette VI; Vignette VII; Ballade; Time Past; Stilleweg; Little Song For My Father.

Personnel: Marilyn Crispell: piano.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Natural Language" CD/LP/Track Review Natural Language
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 9, 2016
Read "Crop Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Crop Circles
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "La Diversité" CD/LP/Track Review La Diversité
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Ever Up & Onward" CD/LP/Track Review Ever Up & Onward
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 24, 2016
Read "Dancing Our Way To Death" CD/LP/Track Review Dancing Our Way To Death
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "Alpha Nebula Expanded: The Monster Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Alpha Nebula Expanded: The Monster Peace
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 17, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!