Connie Crothers | Lenny Popkin Quartet | In Motion | NA1013

A memorable concert at “The Cave” (Belgium, Nov. ’91) alternating standard forms and free forms — the music joining wild flights of the tenor around the harmonies, sinuousity and diabolical precision, compact rhythms stretching tradition, and at the center the pianist lighting the powder keg with flurries of single notes, unexpected accents and expansive chord clusters. They appeared astonished at the enthusiasm of the public that was still in shock but enraptured. This is their latest album. — Gerard Rouy Continue reading

Connie Crothers | Lenny Popkin Quartet | Jazz Spring | NA1017

The influence of Lennie Tristano’s teachings survives into the ’90s with the Connie Crothers/Lenny Popkin Quartet a principal exponent. “Jazz Spring” melds contrasting approaches, with mixed results. Crothers can be a forceful, percussive pianist, prone to dark, minor chords delivered with a stabbing attack. Popkin favors the tenor saxophone’s upper register, and plays smoothly in a style somewhat suggestive of Lee Konitz. As an accompanist, Crothers maintains tension, but sounds stern and hard-edged, almost at odds with the group’s bright, upbeat approach. As a soloist, Crothers adopts a more expansive, introspective persona. On the CD’s best tracks, “Jazz Spring” and “Beyond a Dream,” she exhibits a lighter touch, unraveling elaborate melodic lines. in this mode, she interacts effectively with Popkin’s tenor. — Down Beat, August 1994 Continue reading

Connie Crothers | Lenny Popkin Quartet | New York Night | NA1008

Bop in a light, relaxed groove, performed at a live date at the Blue Note in New York City. The program consists largely of easily swinging bop tunes, including some originals by Popkin and Crothers — her “Prez Says” is particularly delightful. They play two knotty Lennie Tristano compositions, too: “Leave Me” and “Lennie-Bird.” And there’s one ballad cover, “You Go to my Head,” which is a tour de force for Popkin’s sensuous tenor. This club date was in December, but this quartet plays like spring is here for good. — John Baxter, Option, Jan./Feb. 1991 Continue reading