Tuesday, February 12, 2008

braxton/crispell duet online

thanks to bigozine for putting this up:


- and to p. the h. for being onto it so quickly :)

it's not the complete concert (surely..?) but it is a full set of music, well recorded, scintillating playing so get it while it's available

*** if anyone has the complete recording... do please get in touch!



this is just a quickie while i prep the moers quartet for posting later... haven't been listening to much braxton this week, well not by my recent standards: charlie parker project (both discs, one week apart), one of the two (gtm) 2001 quintets w/scott rosenberg, the duet performance above... and the first part of playlist three, last night... but since i haven't even posted playlist two yet i'll shut up about that.

and that my friends is a week that's light on the braxton... plenty more to come though!

since no-one is really bothered whether i post sound files or not, i shall take my time over that BUT stay tuned for a trial run anyway.

c x


Roches Noires said...

How long have I waited to to hear this recording? Well, about 15 years, when I first found out there was a version. So, maybe it is desire that held this in high regard, or maybe it is it the incredible other recordings that came out of this series, Duo (London) 1993 and Trio (London) 1993 - two of my personal favourites. But it is with almost pain that I have to say it does not rank with Braxton's other piano duo works. And it's not because of Braxton's playing, which was on fire that festival, or even the overall quality of playing, which is incredible, but because I can't hear Marilyn.

I never dreamed I'd ever comment about Crispell's playing without uttering accolades. The problem is not that her playing is not exemplary, it is, it's just that she's not playing her own voice. She's playing Braxton's. This may be due to the years of playing his music - but what I look for in a duo are two individual voices coming together.

And she has such an individual voice on the piano. Neophites that have always compared her to CT (thereby demonstrating a lack of knowledge of both Crispell's and Taylor's playing - Scott Yanow, please take a bow) need only listen to Rhythms Hung In Undrawn Sky to realise that as early as 1983 she was singing in tongues. So why can't we hear more of her and less of Braxton on this date?

Although a look at some of Braxton's other piano duos show some hits and, well, not so hits:
- Duo (Amsterdam) 1991 - Georg Gräwe maintains his own voice, thereby creating something twice as unique
- A Memory Of Vienna - a set of standards, with Ran Blake playing a little too inside the line for my liking
- Duets 1976 - Muhal Richard Abrams plays Braxton's lines on his compositions and funks up the standards a little
- Four Pieces - Giorgio Gaslini actuallyt sounds like himself, particularly on a strong Braxton composition
- Szabraxtondos - György Szabados has such a strong outing here, I hate to say it, but it sounds like Braxton is keeping pace at times

My view being, that although excellent playing, I was a shade disappointed to not have a chance to hear Crispell being herself around The Man in what should have been a unique duo setting.


centrifuge said...

fantastic stuff, RN, this makes very interesting reading! thanks for taking the time to set down those thoughts here.

evidnetly your appreciation of piano music is far greater than mine. i've just listened again to this set and for me (with my brax-tinted sunglasses on) it's a perfectly successful meeting, meaning it has what i'm looking for, and i'd love to hear the rest of it... but your familiarity with crispell's own voice is something i simply don't have to anything like that extent.

right, i gotta go to work now, but there will be more on this within the next 24hrs, check back if you're interested :)

centrifuge said...

ok, not quite within 24hrs ;-)

yes, this one is a "braxduo" rather than just a duo - i.e. a pairing put together specifically to examine b's compositions. well, the man has written a lot of duet material - as well as lots of other pieces *not* conceived as duets but susceptible of interpretation by them - and they need "homes"! i'm more than happy to get plenty of these meetings, as many as i can find, indeed...

... but you're right, it's not the same as a "pure duo" such as the meetings with bailey - or with parker, at the same (93) festival... not even the same as, say, the gaslini album which has pieces written by both, and indeed solo performances by both. crispell is very much the "assistant" here - i suppose i wouldn't have expected it to be any other way, given that the duet album (vancouver) is in the same format, i.e. workouts on b's music.

possible that b. wanted to showcase his own music at least once, bearing in mind that the other two concerts he was about to give were both (to be) fully improvised..? maybe not even that, maybe it's just that crispell, still a member of the "working" (not much) group at the time, was still very much in the role of student, and i'd guess happy enough with that..?

now, if they'd met again later... *after* the "forces" quartet broke up... maybe that would be the occasion for the true meeting of minds/voices you so desire... i don't think it's ever happened though..?

we know it's not just egoism on b's part - the szabraxtondos album you mention finds the *opposite* state of affairs, i.e. szabados is the leader, and wrote all the music... but i don't see anything wrong with this one being an all-braxton repertoire! though as i said yesterday, apparently your appreciation of piano music in general, and crispell in particular, goes rather deeper than mine.

Roches Noires said...

As a concert, it's played at an excellent level of musicianship, and you're spot on: it is a duet of Braxton's compositions - thereby immediately placing Crispell into a role. A role in which she fulfills to the highest degree, as expected.

Juuuuuust, would have loved to hear her voice playing off against Braxton's. Having heard her with Braxton so many times in the past, playing his compositions, it would have made for a unique outing, ala the Georg Graewe duet.

So my view on this really comes down to a longing - one day I'll hear it, surely....


centrifuge said...

as you may have gathered, i don't have the graewe album - indeed i am not familiar with that musician at all. naturally i would be interested to hear the recording, but whether i would "get" the difference straight away is dubious ;-)

it would be delightful to hear brax and crispell meet as "equals" (rather than master and disciple). i wonder..?