Marilyn Crispell: piano; Gerry Hemingway: drums, percussion, vibraphone.
Anything can be told about a piano/percussion duo. But when the acting constituents are connected via the invisible knowledge of all the parts forming an improvisation – well before it materializes as a resounding series – that is the moment when the chaff is discarded and the excellence remains.
That Crispell and Hemingway are long-time friends and artistic partners definitely helps. The sound truly reflects the vital principle of a profound exchange touching on assorted topics, with varying levels of rumination. Musicians gifted with sensible wisdom: even the “spirited” episodes offer the type of rewarding comprehensibility that defines an intelligent translation of many-sided intuitions into concrete acoustic interaction.
All which is heard – in synthesis, a collection of live fragments logically assembled into a whole – is entirely manageable: a huge distance separates every minute of the interplay from any semblance of rhetorical accent. The pair listen to the vibrating air, listen to themselves; they know that we are listening, too, in search of a secret key to decode the complexity of something that, on the contrary, is extremely simple to grasp if only one wants to try. Their investigations appear natural, unpretentious; for the most part, the results escape from inquietude to find asylum inside the realm of a pensive composure (“Night Passing” and “Windy City” being the clearest exemplification).
Articulation and luminosity in union with rational consideration: one can’t ask for more. Top-rank materials, to be preferably savored in total presence of mind; in case of extraneous forces contrasting the achievement of that condition, this music will surely facilitate the opposite process.