CONNIE CROTHERS, pianist, has lived her musical life as performer, recording artist and teacher releasing the feeling—her source—into the music which realizes her range of expression, her virtuosity based in her love of the instrument and her desire to discover everything she can hear and imagine through spontaneous improvisation.
Connie was selected for a week residency at The Stone, from August 19 to 24. She performed twelve sets, each set with a different lineup of musicians. The musicians included Andrea Wolper, voice; Ken Filiano, bass; Nick Lyons, alto saxophone; Lorenzo Sanguedolce, tenor saxophone; Pete Swanson, bass; Todd Capp, drums; Jemeel Moondoc, alto saxophone; Henry Grimes, bass and violin; Adam Caine, guitar; Federico Ughi, drums; Alexis Parsons, voice; Jessica Jones, tenor saxophone; Louie Belogenis, tenor saxophone, Michael Wimberley, drums; Kevin Norton, vibes, percussion; Ed Schuller, bass; Roger Mancuso, drums; Eva Lindal, violin; Tomas Ulrich, cello; Michael Bisio, bass; Richard Tabnik, alto saxophone; Mark Weber, poet; Pauline Oliveros, accordion, electronics; Cheryl Richards, voice. The set with Pauline Oliveros was chosen for the critics pick section in Time Out magazine.
“Concert in Paris,” a solo CD of selections from a solo concert performed in Paris, was released on the New Artists label in August. Earlier in this year, her quartet, with Richard Tabnik on alto saxophone, Ken Filiano on bass, Roger Mancuso on drums, released “Deep Friendship,” New Artists, their concert at William Paterson University. The quartet celebrated the CD release in a performance at Roulette in Brooklyn. She appeared in the Vision Festival with Times Three, a trio with Henry Grimes on bass and violin and Melvin Gibbs on electric bass. In this festival, she also performed with the dancer Patricia Parker, violinist Mazz Swift and bassist Shayna Dulberger. She performed duo concerts with Richard Tabnik, singer Cheryl Richards, bassist Ken Filiano, guitar player Dan Rose, trumpet player Ryan Messina, bassoonist Claire DeBrunner, tenor saxophone player Will Jhun, flutist Jan Leder, alto saxophone player Aaron Johnson. She appeared at The Firehouse Performance Space, Brooklyn, in a quintet led by bassist Adam Lane which featured two pianos, the other pianist being Virg Dzurinko; in the band were Daniel Carter, multiple horns; Vijay Anderson, drums. She toured California with Jessica Jones, tenor saxophone, celebrating their 2013 CD release, “Live at the Freight.” This CD was chosen for their best of the year lists by Ken Weiss and Duck Baker.
She appeared in the Vision Festival with Times Three, a trio with Henry Grimes on bass and violin and Melvin Gibbs on electric bass, and in another set with the dancer Patricia Parker, violinist Mazz Swift and bassist Shayna Dulberger. She toured California with Jessica Jones, celebrating their CD release, “Live at the Freight.” This CD was chosen for their best of the year lists by Ken Weiss and Duck Baker.
In 2013, she performed at the Vision Festival with poet Steve Dalachinsky. With the Northwoods Improvisers, she performed at the Edge Festival. She performed solo at Roulette. Released on the Relative Pitch label was a duet with alto saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc, “Two.”
In 2012, the French label RogueArt released a four-CD box set, a duo with pianist David Arner, “Spontaneous Suites for Two Pianos.” Ken Weiss chose it for his best of 2012 list. Grego Applegate Edwards writes: “It is one of the finest improvisational solo-pianistic moments we have experienced in recorded form to date. It will repay your attention with an enthralling sublimity.
In 2011, the CD “Live at the Stone, NYC’’ was released featuring her quartet, with poet Mark Weber. Another band release is “Band of Fire,” the quartet plus Roy Campbell on trumpet. A duo CD with clarinet player Bill Payne,”The Stone Set,” a 2-CD release, one CD from a performance at The Stone and the other CD a re-release of their first recording, “Conversations.” This was chosen for Ken Waxman’s best of the year list. Bill Shoemaker and Art Lange had selected “Conversations” for their best of the year lists when it was released originally. “Kingston Tone Roads,” features a duet with Kevin Norton on vibes and percussion, with Tabnik on one track, New Vanguard label.
TranceFormation, a trio, with singer Andrea Wolper and Filiano, presents selections from two live performances on “TranceFormation in Concert.” She accompanies singer Alexis Parsons on “Hippin.'” Poet Paula Hackett and Connie collaborate on a poetry/improvised piano duo CD, “Sharing the Thrill.” These last three CDs are on New Artists.
Crothers curated The Stone in September, 2009. This curation was selected by Time Out magazine for a preview, getting the #2 spot for best live performance in New York City.
She has performed extensively as a soloist. In 2011, she performed solo in San Francisco, CA, Bay City, MI, Chicago, IL and in Paris. “Concert in Paris” will be released on CD in August on New Artists. She appeared solo in the 2008 Vision Festival. Ken Weiss wrote in Cadence that her set was one of the best three sets of the Festival. She was presented as a soloist by the Interpretations Series at Merkin Hall in 2006, New York City, also performing a duet with Roscoe Mitchell in that concert; she performed at the Northhampton Center for the Arts in the “World of Piano” series, and at Deep Listening Space in Kingston, NY. She has performed solo in festivals such as Berlin Jazztage, Jazz at Middleheim in Belgium, DuMaurier International Festival in Toronto, New Music America Festival. Lennie Tristano produced her in three solo concerts in Carnegie Recital Hall, a fourth was produced by the Lennie Tristano Jazz Foundation, produced by Jazz Records on a 2-lp set, “Solo.” John Sutherland chose her solo recording, “Music from Everyday Life,” for his list of the best ten recordings of the year in Coda.
Crothers recorded duo with Max Roach as part of his historic duets recording project–”Swish,” New Artists–and performed duo with Roach in Tokyo, Bologna, New Orleans and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Roach and Crothers were honored by Harvard University as Visiting Jazz Artists; during the ceremony they performed with the Harvard University Band. For this concert, Anthony Braxton wrote a composition for them.
“Love Energy,” New Artists, a quartet CD co-led by Lenny Popkin and featuring drummer Carol Tristano and bassist Cameron Brown, was chosen #1 record of the year by Jack Cooke in Wire. Another release from this quartet, “In Motion,” was selected for the best 50 records of the year by the French magazine, Jazz Magazine. This quartet appeared at the Blue Note and Birdland in New York City, De Singel, De Werf and L’Archeduc in Belgium, Bimhuis in Amsterdam, the Toronto International Jazz Festival, Ottowa Jazz Festival, the Lennie Tristano Club in Aversa, Italy, Spoleto Festival in Charleston, NC.
When her first record, “Perception,” originally on SteepleChase, was reissued in 1983 on Inner City, it was selected as one of the ten best records of the year by Mark Weber in Coda. Her duet recording with Richard Tabnik, “Duo Dimension,” was selected by Lois Moody for her year’s ten best list in Ottowa Citizen.
She was a guest on Marian McPartland’s radio show “Piano Jazz.” She was honored by the Jazz Museum in Harlem by being featured in their series “Harlem Speaks.” In the centennial issue of Cadence, Crothers was selected for the list of the most important and influential musicians in the last twenty-five years of the 20th century. Lennie Tristano wrote, for her first record, “Perception”: “Connie Crothers is the most original musician it has ever been my privilege to work with.”