Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Marilyn Crispell – Vignettes (ECM, 2008)

Pianist Marilyn Crispell has had a long and productive career playing with everyone from Anthony Braxton to Paul Motian. On this disc, she is solo, mixing spare and pointillist improvisations with longer song like compositions. The music covers a wide range of tempos and feeling from classical like, dark and patient on "Cuida tu Espiritu" and "Once" to a Keith Jarrett like crystalline waterfall of notes "Gathering Light" and "Ballade" even adding a touch of gospel for a warmer feeling. "Vignettes" III and IV are like aural short stories, using plenty of space and rumbling bass from the low end of the piano. "Axis" is fast and skittish, running up and down the keyboard freely like a spooked animal, while "Sweden" is gentle, caressing and melodic. This is a fine album for late night contemplation, it is spacious, quiet and spare, but never slipping into background music.

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