Reviews that mention Connie Crothers

December 21, 2017

Pauline Oliveros + Connie Crothers

Live At the Stone
Impress: Records No #

By Ken Waxman

The first, last and only musical meeting between jazz improviser Connie Crothers (1941-2016) and electronic music avatar Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016) took place in August 2014 and is preserved in its entirety on this disc. Like long-lost siblings reunited in their senior years that discover that they have complementary habits, Oliver’s and Crothers were probably surprised by how many musical ideas they shared. Both had an unerring sense of rhythm coupled with a mischievous sense of humor that refused to take things too serious, plus a talent for disruption. MORE

February 26, 2016

Steve Swell’s Kende Dreams

Hommage à Bartok
Silkheart SHCD 160

Dave Burrell/Steve Swell

Turning Point

NoBusiness NBCD 70

Working forward in his career as one of the busiest trombonists in New York’s Free Music scene, Steve Swell has in the last little while been drawn to program music. That doesn’t mean a turn away from open-ended improv, of which he has performed masterly alongside everyone from Tim Berne to Peter Brötzmann. It’s just like an actor trying out classical as well as contemporary roles he transmits the artistry implicit in one to the other. MORE

January 21, 2015

Connie Crothers

Concert in Paris
New Artists NA 1059 CD

Matthew Shipp

I've Been To Many Places

Thirsty Ear Recordings THI 57209.2

Mircea Tiberian


OpenArt Records No #

For an unswerving improviser approaching a solo piano session involves more than collecting charts of his or her favorite tunes. While there may be direct or indirect references to known material – as two of these three sessions demonstrate – the fundamentals demand establishing a unique concept while in the midst of an involved – and involving – performance. MORE

July 1, 2014

Jameel Moondoc & Connie Crothers

Relative Pitch RPR 1009

Akira Sakata/Giovanni Di Domenico


Mbari Music mbari 21

Expressively dexterous and modest improvisations, which despite a minimalist presentation skirt the quietude of so-called Chamber Jazz, these reed-piano duos show how much can be invested and extracted from this simple format.

Chief points of demarcation here are radically different. On Iruman, veteran Japanese reedist Akira Sakata gradually toughen the interaction between his playing and that of Italian-born, Brussels-resident pianist Giovanni Di Domenico so that by the climatic final piece they’re engaged in rapid-fire near-atonality. Equally edifying is a disc-meeting between two long-time stalwarts of New York’s advanced music scene. Like the other CD a first-time recording, despite being from so-called different Jazz circles, alto saxophonist Jameel Moondoc and pianist Connie Crothers have actually played together for years. What’s noteworthy about Two though, is that despite the musicians’ membership in the so-called avant garde, the improvisations are rife with near references to standards – Jazz and otherwise. MORE

December 15, 2012

Connie Crothers - David Arner

Spontaneous Suite for Two Pianos
Rogueart R0G-037

Pharoah Sanders

In the Beginning 1963-64

ESP-Disk ESP-4069

Various Artists

Echtzeitmusik Berlin

Mikroton CD 14/15/16

Pierre Favre

Drums and Dreams

Intakt CD 197

Something In The Air: Multiple Disc Sets for the Adventurous

By Ken Waxman

Defying doomsayers who predicted the death of the LP, the CD’s disappearance appears oversold. True music collectors prefer the physical presence and superior fidelity of a well-designd CD package and important material continues to released. Partisans of advanced music, for instance, can choose any one of these sets. The only saxophonist to be part of saxophonist John Coltrane’s working group, tenorist Pharoah Sanders is celebrated for his own highly rhythmic Energy Music. In the Beginning 1963-64 ESP-Disk ESP-4069, a four CD-package highlight his steady growth. Besides Sanders’ first album as leader, very much in the freebop tradition, as part of quintet of now obscure players, the other previously released sounds capture Sanders’ recordings in the Sun Ra Arkestra. More valuable is a CD of unissued tracks where Sanders asserts himself in quartets led by cornetist Don Cherry or Canadian pianist Paul Bley. The set is completed by short interviews with all of the leaders. Oddly enough, although they precede his solo debut, Sanders’ playing is most impressive with Bley and Cherry. With more of a regularized beat via bassist David Izenson and drummer J.C. Moses, Cherry’s tracks advance melody juxtaposition and parallel improvisations with Sanders’ harsh obbligato contrasted with the cornetist’s feisty flourishes; plus the darting lines and quick jabs of pianist Joe Scianni provides an unheralded pleasure. Bley’s economical comping and discursive patterning lead the saxophonist into solos filled with harsh tongue-twisting lines and jagged interval leaps. With Izenson’s screeching assent and drummer Paul Motion’s press rolls the quartet plays super fast without losing the melodic thread. Sun Ra is a different matter. Recorded in concert, the sets include helpings of space chants such as “Rocket #9” and “Next Stop Mars”; a feature for Black Harold’s talking log drums; showcases for blaring trombones, growling trumpets; plus the leader’s propulsive half-down-home and half-outer-space keyboard. Sharing honking and double-tonguing interludes with Arkestra saxists Pat Patrick and Marshall Allen, Sanders exhibits his characteristic stridency. Enjoyable for Sun Ra’s vision which is spectacular and jocular, these tracks suggest why the taciturn Sanders soon went on his own. MORE

February 20, 2012

Connie Crothers/Bill Payne

The Stone Set/Conversations
New Artists NA 1044 CD

Experience playing in cruise ship ensembles; gigs in Broadway pit bands; periods of time as a Las Vegas and Los Angeles sideman backing Swing Era singers and comedians; plus many years as music director for Ringling Bros. Circus and in tent bands under other big tops aren’t standard credentials for cerebral improvisers. Yet these two CDs showcase just that: the sophisticated and free-form reed intonations of now Las Vegas-based, former jack-of-all-musical-trades clarinetist Bill Payne, in the company of Brooklyn-based pianist Connie Crothers, with whom he first studied in1981 “to play the music that was in my heart”. MORE

January 20, 2012

Rhapsody's 2011 Jazz Critics' Poll

Individual Ballot
From Ken Waxman

1) Your name and primary affiliation(s) (no more than two, please)

2) Ken Waxman

Jazz Word ( )

3) Your choices for 2011's ten best new releases (albums released between Thanksgiving 2010 and Thanksgiving 2011, give or take), listed in descending order one-through-ten.

1. World Saxophone Quartet Yes We Can Jazzwerkstatt JW 098

2. Gerald Cleaver Uncle June Be It As I See It Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT-375

3. Hubbub Whobub Matchless MRCD 80 MORE

June 1, 2010

Connie Crothers-Michel Bisio

Sessions at 475 Kent
Mutable 17537-2

The Frame Quartet

35 MM

Okka Disk OD 12078



482 Music 482-1064

Matthew Shipp

Nu Bop Live

Rai Trade RTPJ 0015

Extended Play: Combos: Ad Hoc and Long Constituted in Toronto

By Ken Waxman

Long-established jazz groups have become as common as pop hits based on Mozart melodies topping the charts – they sometimes exist. But with accomplished improvisers tempted by side projects, bands often reconstitute and sidemen regularly have their own gigs. In most cases, though, this doesn’t affect the music’s quality. MORE