Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Connie Crothers and Bill Payne Engage in Lively New-Improv Clarinet-Piano Duets: "The Stone Set"
It is a chance to hear the two interacting with an open-form set of improvisations. Bill Payne favors cleanly articulated, almost classically pure clarinet sounds that fall into a "new music" hybrid between jazz-based improv and avant classical freedom. He reminds every once in a while of Rolf Kuhn, then, no, he reminds of nobody but himself. Ms. Crothers responds with some of her finest open-framework improvisations to date, corralling all her pianistic textural, harmonic and melodic spontaneities to the interactions at hand.
It's rarified, high-road modernism and it's a model of creative interaction. Connie Crothers, as I've asserted in an earlier review, is an important force in the music today. Her many years playing this music have allowed her to dig ever deeper into her fertile musical imagination and express it all with superb musicianship. And she has found an able and fully compatible collaborator in Bill Payne.