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Annette Peacock: An Acrobat’s Heart

The recent brouhaha with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra is a telling reminder that even in the Age of Aquarius, female composers-arrangers-singers-players working in the music still can’t get no props. Same as it ever was.

Vocalist/composer/instrumentalist Annette Peacock is well-acquainted with the good ol’ boys club-she’s been bumping her head against its glass ceiling since the ’60s.

Self-taught musician, married Albert Ayler bassist Gary Peacock, wrote for Paul Bley’s trio (every song still in his book 30-odd years later), 10 quirky, influential solo albums (’72’s I’m The One’s groundbreaking fusions of voice and synthesizers has influenced Brian Eno, David Bowie, Daniel Lanois), went AWOL for nearly two decades, presently working with Bowie on his new album. Don’t call Annette Peacock an ex-wife-of; don’t call her a muse; the descriptive you’re looking for is legend.

An Acrobat’s Heart is Peacock’s first release in 13 years. This time around, no electronics and vocal trippery, just Norway’s Cikada String Quartet and A.P. on vocal and piano. Less is more than enough for Peacock’s exquisitely strange and haunting songs about love (“Weightless”), loneliness (“Camille”), obsession (“The Heart Keeps”), fear and fearlessness (“Tho”). Peacock’s smoky alto rarely rises above a whisper, and she phrases silence like Miles.

Originally Published