Click here to [close]

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Marilyn Crispell - Collaborations 2004 and 2007 (Leo, 2009) ****

An interesting album. Not only because we do not often hear Crispell with horns (sure, with Braxton, or recently with The Stone Quartet), but also because of the breadth of musical styles and backgrounds of the Scandinavian musicians she teams up with. All five pieces were recorded at the Nya Perspektiv Festivals, Sweden, in 2004 and 2007. The first two tracks are a quartet performance, with Crispell on piano, Fredrik Ljungkvist on clarinet and saxophone, Palle Danielsson on bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums. The first piece is full of the pianist's know free lyricism, with Ljungkvist on clarinet, going really wild and deep, yet full of contrast between darkness and light. The second piece is more uptempo and angular, with Ljunkvist on tenor, wailing and screeching over the pounding chords of Crispell, not bad but a little less risky, with a long slow solo bass piece for Danielsson in the middle, moving the piece into more romantic post-boppish territory. The quintet session has Lars Goran Ulander on alto saxophone, Magnus Broo on trumpet, Per Zanussi on bass, and again Paal Nilssen-Love on drums. Maybe because of the context or because of the line-up, but the musical approach is quite different, more free, more creative. Crispell's chords are eery, with Broo and Ulander interacting beautifully, full of restraint and deep-felt emotions, and with the trumpetist adding some real fun at the end of the first piece. The next one is all ethereal sound layers, slow, evocative, expansive, with gradually increasing tension. The last piece is all subdued and quiet, impressionistic, sensitive, sad. If there had been more unity in the album, it would have been great. The two sets are too far apart to have a real coherent album. That being said, all the different parts are excellent, yet not really breaking new ground, with lots of references to the seventies.

© stef