Solo set at the Vision Festival
June 13, 2008

By John Sharpe

Having heard pianist Connie Crothers discussing Lennie Tristano and Dizzy Gillespie with Phil Schaap on WKCR earlier in the week, I was expecting her Vision set to be a more traditional recital. But Crothers began by stating how inspirational she found the Vision Festival, and she certainly did seem inspired. Despite a serene look on her face, she pitched a stabbing left hand against dark rumblings in her right in the first of four thrillingly expressionistic, freely improvised pieces.

Sadly her set was cut short, with MC Lewis Barnes even asking the audience if they wanted more after the third piece. When answered with a resounding yes, Crothers responded with a forearm smash on the keyboard, then used the flats and heel of her hands to pound the registers, before morphing into measured chords contrasted with an extemporized bluesy line. Finishing with a series of karate chops up and down the keyboard, Crothers received an affectionate standing ovation for her all too brief appearance.

All About Jazz
August 2008

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