Two New York jazz originals, pianist Connie Crothers and alto saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc, performing 6 improvisations and one original compositions from each artist; melodic and deeply sensitive playing.
Moondoc, Jemeel / Connie Crothers
Label: Relative Pitch
Released in: USA
"Connie Crothers is a member of that unfortunately not-so-exclusive club of first-rate jazz improvisers who (for reasons unfair) have been relegated to the fringes of the jazz public's consciousness. Why she's not more well-known and/or critically acclaimed has nothing to do with any lack of skill or originality, for Crothers has both to spare. Perhaps the determining non-musical factor in her neglect is the fact that she's an unrepentant disciple of that most neglected of jazz geniuses, the late Lennie Tristano. The knotty intricacies of Crothers' hyper-linear style are indeed frequently invested with her mentor's measured reserve, yet her manifestly intellectual approach to the demands of jazz improvisation does not preclude the expression of emotion. Crothers' playing is very intense; for all her self-possession, she can be quite extroverted. The defining aspect of her style is the freedom she conveys and exploits within the circumscribed boundaries of jazz's standard small-group format.
Crothers began taking piano lessons and composing at the age of nine. As a youngster, she frequently played recitals and concerts, sometimes performing her own compositions. She attended the University of California at Berkeley, where she majored in music with an emphasis on composition. Crothers could find little with which to relate in contemporary approaches to composition, so she turned to jazz as a creative outlet. She became enamored of Tristano's music, and in 1962 she moved to New York in order to study with him. Formal and informal lessons continued with Tristano for ten years. In 1972, Crothers began performing privately for small audiences in Tristano's home. After a year of these, Tristano produced her first "gig": a solo concert in Carnegie Hall. In 1974, Crothers recorded her first album, Perception, on the SteepleChase label. The next year, she returned to Carnegie Hall in a performance with tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, drummer Roger Mancuso, and bassist Joe Solomon. In 1979, Crothers co-produced (with saxophonist Lenny Popkin) the Lennie Tristano Memorial Concert at Town Hall in New York; that same year she also co-founded the Lennie Jazz Foundation. Crothers recorded Swish, a duo album with drummer Max Roach, in 1982. In the '80s and '90s, the pianist worked as a soloist and in groups that at various times included Popkin, alto saxophonist Richard Tabnik, tenor saxophonist Charlie Krachy, bassist Cameron Brown, and drummer Carol Tristano, among others. Crothers remains at or near the center of a group that perpetuates the Tristano ideal, though her own music retains a personal identity."- Chris Kelsey, All Music
"A powerful and vastly underrated avant-garde alto saxophonist, Jemeel Moondoc blended the free-form melodic thought of Ornette Coleman and the sharp edge of Jackie McLean or Charles Tyler with the sort of ferocious "energy playing" usually reserved for tenorists. Moondoc began playing piano as a child, studied clarinet and flute, and settled on alto around age 16; he subsequently studied with Cecil Taylor at various colleges in the early '70s. In 1972, he moved to New York, where he formed Ensemble Muntu with trumpeter Roy Campbell, bassist William Parker, and drummer Rashid Baker. The group recorded for its own Muntu label in the late '70s, and Moondoc also led solo sessions for labels like Soul Note and Cadence through the early '80s. However, financial difficulties forced Moondoc to break up his large ensemble (the Jus Grew Orchestra) and essentially retire from music for over a decade, working as an architect's assistant.
Moondoc's career was revived in the mid-'90s when the Eremite label coaxed him into signing a deal that allowed tremendous creative leeway. In 1996, Moondoc recorded his first albums in 11 years: the studio trio date Tri-P-Let and the live Fire in the Valley (performed at the festival of the same name). 1998 brought New World Pygmies, a duo with William Parker from that year's Fire in the Valley. Next, Moondoc revived his Jus Grew Orchestra as a ten-piece and performed a set of Massachusetts concerts documented on 2001's Spirit House. Also released that year was Revolt of the Negro Lawn Jockeys, a quintet performance from the 2000 Vision Festival that was acclaimed as perhaps his finest album to date, and whose instrumentation evoked Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch."-Steve Huey, All Music
At The Squid's Ear!
Related Categories of Interest:
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
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Shipping Weight: 3.00 units
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Label: Relative Pitch
Catalog ID: RPR 1008
Squidco Product Code: 17029
Recorded by Ben Manley at Connie's Loft, Kent Street on December 22nd, 2011.
Jemeel Moondoc-alto saxophone
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1. Improvisation 1 6:25
2. You Let Me Into Your Life 11:48
3. Improvisation 2 8:06
4. Deep Friendship 5:31
5. Improvisation 3 4:45
6. Improvisation 4 5:55
7. Improvisation 5 4:00
8. Improvisation 6 7:23