Bud Tristano, guitar | Connie Crothers, piano
This music is selected from private sessions from June 1997 to January 2001. All the music is freely improvised.
Tracklist: 1. Primal Elegance 2. Poesía 3. M-theory 4. Modal 5. Sunspot 6. Mahicanituk (the continually flowing waters) 7. Sound Painting 8. A Room in Manhattan 9. Anima Manahatta 10. Fractal
“The musical link between Connie Crothers and Lenny Tristano was forged in the 1970s when Crothers studied extensively under the maverick pianist, whose unorthodox approach to improvisation was one of the earliest deviations from the established norm of bebop. So it is only natural that she would record an album with Tristano’s son Bud.
has devoted much of his career to the rock emporium, but it is clearly evident that he has a natural gift for improvisation. He exhibits several styles of guitar playing on this very advanced duet session. Glimpses of the multiple-note spark of Sonny Sharrock emerge at one turn; the concepts of flamenco guitar majesty crop up on another; the bent-note configurations of the steel guitar are evident at times; the passion of Eastern European folk themes shines through; and even softer acoustic scenarios emerge at unexpected moments. Polytonality is ever present, as it was in his father’s piano playing. Tristano’s sound, although predominantly electrified, maintains clarity and crystalline resonance in contradiction to his rock roots. He becomes an expressive conductor of charged ions while using his articulate fingering to construct significant moments in time.
Crothers responds to these varied stimuli with deep, emotional abstractions, which take up residence on the brooding, dark side of the moon. Her exclamatory punctuation marks dot the rocky landscape. She delves into the recesses of a craggy terrain with explosively deep and ponderous retorts to the energized volts of current sparking from Tristano’s guitar. Crothers’ pensiveness is pervasive throughout the album. She casts long shadows with her probing, concentrated improvisational approach. The commingling of basic cries of life with tempered softness is befitting the recording’s title Primal Elegance. Raw energy and compassion appear to coexist simultaneously and harmoniously even though the undercurrents of tension attempt to draw one down into the foreboding eddies of this whirlpool.
The contrasting tonality of these two musicians characterizes the performance. Tristano’s playing concentrates on rapid-fire combustion using upper-register ignition, and Crothers’ pronouncements linger at subterranean levels. The sound swells to a common ground of excitement where each artist finds order in the union. This duet is a highly stimulating experience where two opposing forces meet on a battlefield and resolve the conflict with their unifying communicative skills. Although heavy in heart, this match is an uplifting example of creative improvised art.” — Frank Rubolino, One Final Note, Spring 2002
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