“TranceFormation in Concert” was named a Downbeat Critics Poll Best Vocal CD selection (Alain Drouot, Downbeat, WNUR-FM, 2012)


TranceFormation - In Concert
New Artists Records (2012)


By Jason Bivins

One of the real pleasures of the last decade in improvised music has been the increased documentation of the superb Connie Crothers. One of her most enduring and empathetic partnerships is with the extraordinary contrabassist Ken Filiano. Here, on a release pairing a couple of live shots from Korzo and the Stone, they're joined by the imaginative and resourceful Andrea Wolper. The combination of spoken words and free improvisation is a deal-breaker for some fans, but it's hard to imagine folks not being taken by this vocalist who operates somewhere in a territory between Jeanne Lee and Maggie Nicols. She's playful, musing, and has careful attention to phrasing that balances out her sonic range. I was on board as soon as she began halting posing questions about diminishing understandings and perspectivalism in the thick of the dark shapes and brilliantine chords of “The Same Moon.” The music on these tracks is relentlessly moving and imaginative, with Crothers and Filiano so in tune with each other that they're able to create all manner of shade and mystery when accompanying actual lyrics, and construct wondrously strange architecture when all three are deep into pure sound. On the slashing “When Souls,” for example, Wolper trills and coos and ululates as Crothers pounds out clear, forceful lines against groaning arco. On “The Fifth Stone,” Wolper creates some Galas-like moments of intensity, while on the quirky “The Things You See in New York City” the music is as jittery and overwhelmed as the city it's dedicated to. Some of the best moments come deep into the disc. “Whale Song” is enchantingly sparse and crystalline, but its closing minutes shift unexpectedly into a rush of heady, disorienting, pinwheeling motion. Filiano's robust and animated playing on “Lines” seems like it's the fuel animating Wolper's high-flying lines, which at times pause in flight to twirl downward into some kind of incantation. And I was knocked out by the marvelous piano clouds and mewling vocals on “Love Within a Time of Turbulence.” Come to think of it, that title might be a fitting byline for what this trio's all about.

Cadence Magazine
April 2013

TranceFormation - IN CONCERT

TranceFormation, IN CONCERT
Marc Medwin, The New York City Jazz Record
November 2012

TranceFormation, IN CONCERT
Bruce Crowther, JazzMostly.com
August 2012

> TranceFormation, IN CONCERT
Jason Bivins, Cadence Magazine
April 2013

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