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Overdue Ovation: Marilyn Crispell

Now more than 40 years into her jazz career, the “hard-edged” pianist has learned to value lyricism

Marilyn Crispell. (photo by: Bart Babinski/ECM Records)

On one of her most recent visits to Philadelphia, Marilyn Crispell visited the house where she’d grown up for the first time since she’d moved away at age 10. She was shocked to discover how small the brick rowhome seemed in comparison to her memories, the vast lawn where she’d played as a child revealed as a meager strip of grass.

“It makes you wonder about the world that we’re in now,” she mused over the phone from her home in Woodstock, N.Y. “Is that just going to seem like the little bits of lawn on Farnsworth Street at some point?”

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Shaun Brady

Shaun Brady is a Philadelphia-based journalist who covers jazz along with an eclectic array of arts, culture, and travel. Brady contributes regularly to the Philadelphia Inquirer and JazzTimes and Jazziz magazines, with subjects ranging from legendary artists to underground experimentalists. His byline has appeared in DownBeat, Metro, NPR Music, and The A.V. Club, among other outlets. He studied filmmaking at Columbia College Chicago and continues to spend too much time in the dark.