Barry Guy, bass; Marilyn Crispell, pianist; Paul Lytton, percussion.
The liner notes to Odyssey are instructive. This is not a trio in the traditional sense, as the nine original themes explored in the session consistently flout conventions dearly held by mainstream Jazz musicians. However, the absence of standard song forms, diatonic chord changes, and other conventions are not predictive with regard to quality.
On the contrary, this music is about the evocation of mood through the use of space, texture, and a highly advanced rhythmic language. In her emphasis on interval structures and relationships (witness the descending interval of the fourth that is the nucleus of the title track), Crispell has created a most personal and expressive approach to the modern grand piano, every bit as challenging as Olivier Messiaen's Etudes de Rhythme .
Observe the ingenious layers of sound in Heavy Metal, whose overriding melancholy persists through Lytton's percussive variations. In an age of formal experiments, the emphasis on content is refreshing; the trio communicates powerfully in this brief, 4 minute performance.
This is a masterpiece of 21st century creative music; most highly recommended.
by James Armstrong
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