CONNIE CROTHERS (pianist) is known for her wide range of expression, originality, virtuosity, uncompromising spontaneous improvisation. In January, 2012 RogueArt released a 4-CD box set, “Spontaneous Suites for Two Pianos,” with pianist David Arner, Grego Edwards says, “It is one of the finest improvisational solo-pianistic moments we have experienced in recorded form to date, to my mind. It will repay your attention with an enthralling sublimity.” Other CDs released in 2012 include “Kingston Tone Roads,” with percussionist Kevin Norton and alto saxophonist Richard Tabnik, “TranceFormation in Concert,” with singer Andrea Wolper and bassist Ken Filiano, “Hippin’,” with singer Alexis Parsons.
Her quartet, featuring Tabnik, Filiano and drummer Roger Mancuso, appeared in 2011 at the Vision Festival, New York City. Ken Weiss, in Jazz Inside, described the set as, “the highlight of the Festival.” The quartet has performed at The Stone, Birdland, and at The Outpost Performance Space in Albuquerque, NM, with poet Mark Weber. The band, plus Weber, released the CD “Live from The Stone, NYC.” From a performance at The Stone, the quartet, with trumpet player Roy Campbell, released the CD, “Band of Fire.” The quartet’s CD, “Music Is A Place,” New Artists (with bassist Ratzo Harris) was chosen by Stuart Broomer, Bill Shoemaker and All About Jazz/New York for their best-of-the-year lists, 2007. In December 2009, Howard Mandel chose it for his best of the year list, in a listening category.
“The Stone Set,” a CD release from a duo performance with clarinet player Bill Payne was chosen by Ken Waxman for his list of the best records of 2011. “Conversations,” a duet CD with clarinetist Bill Payne, New Artists, was reissued along with this CD, making it a two-disc release. “Conversations” had been selected by Art Lange and Bill Shoemaker for their best of the year lists, 2008. The Mutable label released a duo CD with bassist Michael Bisio, “Session at 475 Kent,” selected by Grego Edwards, Jason Bivins and Tim DuRoche for their best of the year lists. She performed with Bisio in October, 2009 at Location One, presented by Roulette.
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.
Her recent solo performances include the 2008 Vision Festival, the "Interpretations" series in Merkin Concert Hall where she also performed a duet with Roscoe Mitchell, Northampton Center for the Arts in the "World of Piano" series; other solo appearances include the Berlin Jazztage, Cooper Union, the New Music America Festival, the DuMaurier International Jazz Festival in Toronto, the Middleheim Festival in Belgium.
She appeared with alto saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc’s quartet at The Stone, with bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Chad Taylor. She appeared in a trio performance with Moondoc and Grimes and a duet with Grimes at The Stone. She has performed with Moondoc at Hallwalls in Buffalo and at Tonic, NYC, and at the 2003 Vision Festival in a quintet which included trumpet player Nathan Breedlove, Adam Lane and drummer John McCutcheon. In a Roulette concert at Location One she performed duo with percussionist and composer Kevin Norton. Roulette also presented her duo with electroacoustic improviser and composer Ben Manley.
In 1982, she recorded duo with Max Roach as part of his historic duets recording project--“Swish,” New Artists. She co-led an engagement with Roach and dancers Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She performed duo with Roach in Bologna, Italy, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Tokyo, Japan and Harvard University where she was co-honored as Visiting Jazz Artist.
Five of her other recordings have appeared on critic’s 1O best lists, one of them getting the #1 record of the year spot in Wire from Jack Cooke--”Love Energy,” her quartet, co-led with tenor saxophonist Lenny Popkin, featuring bassist Cameron Brown and drummer Carol Tristano. This band toured Europe and Canada and appeared at the Blue Note, Sweet Basil, Birdland, the Spoleto Festival. She performed in Carnegie Recital Hall with tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, Roger Mancuso, and bassist Joe Solomon. She co-led an engagement with Marsh at the Village Vanguard, with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Peter Scattaretico.
After attending the University of California in Berkeley, she moved to New York in 1962 to study with Lennie Tristano, who presented her in three solo concerts at Carnegie Recital Hall; the Lennie Tristano Jazz Foundation presented a fourth concert in that venue. Tristano wrote--for her first record release, "Perception,"--"Connie Crothers is the most original musician it has ever been my privilege to work with."