The pairing of pianist Marilyn Crispell and electric guitarist Tisziji Munoz is a curious one, but in the end it works quite well. Both musicians have individual approaches and tones that they get from their respective instruments that meld and contrast in interesting ways. This album was recorded live in Marlboro, NY on July 4, 2014 and the group is rounded out with Don Pate on bass and Ra-Kalam Bob Moses and Tony Falco on drums. Opening with “No Self, No Thought, No Mind” a title that seems to inspire the thought of creative spontaneity, the call is answered by a strong section of piano, bass and drums, developing a flurry of activity. Munoz’s guitar joins in, seemingly elated to be in the company of such challenging musicians. He is playing fast and loose over the deep foundation of the rhythm section developing a sense of flying high above the clouds. There is a subtle drum conversation before the music closes. “Shenai Letticia” builds in a suite like manner, opening with Crispell playing piano without accompaniment, devoted to the entire depth and breadth of the instrument, playing that is spacious and full sounding. Munoz edgy guitar enters after her lengthy solo section, with an inner logic developed over years of playing and conceptualizing. He moves ever faster as the piano seems to drop out, allowing him to soar with the deeply rhythmic bassist and drummers at length in a well coordinated and exploratory manner. Crispell then returns to provide a thoughtful and poignant conclusion. Inspirational and spirited piano opens “Fatherhood” building a spiritual jazz notion that is added to by Munoz’s subtle and colorful guitar playing, like painting a sunrise in the distance. This music moves quite quickly to a fast and grinding section for electric guitar, driving the quintet through its paces. “Goodbye Dear Sweet Mother” does start in an elegiac fashion, but the music moves into free territory, entering the realm of Pharoah Sanders, Sonny Sharrock and other fellow travellers that used music as a spiritual quest. This was a very well played and well recorded performance. Munoz has been on a tear recently, releasing several albums of consistent quality and this one is no different. The Paradox of Independence - amazon.com
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