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Best of 2014, Downbeat Magazine ★★★★ 

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Deep Friendship
New Artists Records

 

CONNIE CROTHERS, piano
RICHARD TABNIK, alto saxophone
ROGER MANCUSO, drums
KEN FILIANO, bass


By Vittorio Lo Conte

The music of pianist Connie Crothers has its roots in that of Lennie Tristano, with whom she studied for years. But she has forged her own original path, opening new dimensions in improvisation. Her quartet with alto saxophonist Richard Tabnik, whom she met in the 80s, and with Roger Mancuso, with whom she has been playing and recording since the 70s, is one of the most interesting organizations in contemporary jazz. Joining them this time is bassist Ken Filiano in a live concert recorded at William Paterson University. This spontaneously captured music features five compositions that the band has previously recorded on other occasions; but here they stretch out in a live context with extended solos. The fact that these musicians have known each other so well for decades gives the music and the solos a creative spontaneity. The music moves in its own direction without regard to contemporary mainstream trends. Richard Tabnik's saxophone solos are a pleasure to hear, his horn sounding like a human voice, lyrical, heart rending, at times capable of naturally transforming his sax into an oriental instrument, without losing any of the spontaneity with which he operates. He is one of the most original exponents of his instrument in contemporary jazz. Crothers' accompaniment as well as her soloing are models of creativity that do not conform to the standard canons. The four musicians follow their own paths in the context of improvisation, and this quartet establishes itself as one of today?s most interesting and creative groups. Mancuso, for example, has his own way of accompanying and dialoguing with the others, with his unstoppable drive that imbues the music with vitality. Filiano, whom we know from many contexts, both inside and outside of classical jazz, is a first-rate virtuoso, which he demonstrates in his long pizzicato solo in Roy's Joy. This band gives the contemporary mainstream a new, original face. The quartet pursues its own path without following or attempting to reproduce any of the successful models. 


Music Zoom

November 2014






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