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Marilyn Crispell: Selected Works 1983-1986

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Some of Crispell’s earlier steps are retraced on this Golden Years double CD, which collects together her first three LPs on the Leo label: the solo Rhythms Hung in Undrawn Sky (1983), And Your Ivory Voice Sings, a duo with percussionist Doug James (1985), and Quartet Improvisations, Paris 1986, with bassist Marcio Mattos, cellist Didier Petit and drummer Yovas Mincemacher. Rhythms has some nice moments (“Love,” “Song for Abdullah”), though Crispell can seem a touch garrulous at times and her later solo recordings show a more astute use of space and structure. The Paris concert comprises a single, continuous set, totally improvised, that by accident resembles concerto form. An opening of jostling statements and solos gives way to a brief yet effective slow section before Crispell’s leaping phrases spark a scintillating finale.

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