Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Paul Plimley/John Oswald/Marilyn Crispell/Cecil Taylor: Complicite

May of 2000 marked the 17th International Festival of New Music (FIMAV) in Victoriaville, Quebec. This recording memorializes it, presenting three performances of great intensity and diversity-despite the fact that all three are about free jazz, with the piano at center stage. Diversity in this music is about far more than dynamic level and velocity: though improvisation plays a critical role in each performance, composition before the moment makes its contribution to the emergent sound of the instant.

The bill on this May day got a boost from scheduling uncertainties with respect to Cecil Taylor’s appearance; to ensure a full evening of music, pianist Paul Plimley and alto saxophonist John Oswald made it down from a nearby engagement. Their set opens with an extended saxophone solo: Oswald’s vocabulary encompasses the full range of the instrument, from mellow tone to multiphonics, and uses a sort of stuttering, plosive phrasing to great effect. His range and Plimley’s are complementary, and the pair has obviously devoted plenty of time to understanding each other and their approach to music. Plimley is perhaps the most “traditional” of the pianists heard here, with his right hand taking a melodic role that leads into textural counterpoint with the left, and impressively fleet two-handed runs.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published