Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Connie Crothers, Band of Fire: Live at the Stone with Roy Campbell

This is the third of a trilogy of recordings Connie Crothers made during her tenure at the famed NYC club The Stone in 2010. We've discussed the other two in earlier posts (see below). For this set Connie engages her long-lived regular group of Richard Tabnick on alto, Roger Mancuso on drums, and Ken Filiano on the bass, plus the addition of trumpet firebrand Roy Campbell.

The Band of Fire (New Artists 1050) title well describes what was happening that night. They play three longish numbers, Connie's post-Lenniesque "Ontology" and two collective improvisations.

And what happens is the band most definitely takes fire. Roy Campbell sounds beautiful, filled with a blazing kinetic energy that soars. Richard Tabnik, too, is hard hitting in his attack, sounding as good as I've heard him. Connie is a marvel as always, inspired here to let loose with barrages of notes, clusters, runs and glisses, in ways that make her one of the seminal pianistic forces active today. The rhythm section charges ahead and does much to keep it a four-way dialog with plenty of power and noted significance.

This is what Connie's group can do so well. They turn up the heat more than usual though. It's another exemplary album for Connie. Great for showing the fire-y side of her artistry, great for showing the band in full flight, great for giving Roy Campbell a platform to launch to an outer place.

It's great ultra-modern jazz improvisation, free and focused, musically dense but pivotally pointed forward. Music to quicken the pulse, enliven the spirit, energize the senses! So here's another one from Ms. Crothers that you really should not miss.

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