Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Jessica Jones & Connie Crothers Live at the Freight New Artists Records 2013

A stealth recording deserving of wide spread critical acclaim!
Brent Black / www.bop-n-jazz.com

Straight up, Jessica Jones and Connie Crothers Live at the Freight is an absolute gem!
Why? Simple...Take iconic standards performed at an exemplary level such as Duke Ellington's "In A Sentimental Mood" then carefully intermingled some highly accessible yet spontaneously energetic free jazz and you have a live duo that is crossing musical planes and welcoming everyone along for the journey. The venue is the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley and if not only the traveling improvisational aficionados radar then it well should be...

Two refer to these two ladies of jazz as fearless is the classic undersell. Anyone can share a bandstand and make great music, sharing the stage with a friend takes the music to a special place of connectivity that is on most occasions lost. You have to do more than play the notes. You have to make the music. Jones and Crothers become the music and the end result is indeed a beautiful thing. Connie Crothers is an infamous "underground" pianist long since championed by such luminaries as Lennie Tristano and Max Roach. Jessica Jones is a tenor saxophonist with the grit and resolve to hold her own on any bandstand.

"All The Things You Are" is treated as an evocative exploration of the Kern/Hammerstein classic where each in turn provides the perfect counterpoint for the other. Were it not for a working knowledge of the catalog from which they pull the Jessica Jones composition "Family" might easily pass as perhaps as a lesser known tune pulled from the Great American Songbook. The free improvisation including "Clothespins In A Row" is but a taste of the harmonic vision these two individuals have come to embrace playing free jazz in various intimate venues with other ensembles. The duet concept of piano and saxophone can on occasion come off "rehearsed" and with that flash back to the recitals most of us either attended or performed. Not here, Live at the Freight is spontaneous creativity at its finest.

Tracks: All The Things You Are; Improv 1: Clothespins In A Row; In A Sentimental Mood; Improv 2: That's What You Get; There Will Never Be Another You; Improv 3: Barnacle Living; Family.

Personnel: Jessica Jones: Tenor Saxophone; Connie Crothers: Piano