Raymond MacDonald and Marilyn Crispell - Parallel Moments (4 stars)

An excellent pairing from the avant garde pianist and alto saxophonist

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Raymond MacDonald and Marilyn Crispell - Parallel Moments

(Babel Label)

A long-time associate of Anthony Braxton, Marilyn Crispell's playing is avant garde, but with a strong romantic sensibility, making her an excellent match for Scottish saxophonist Raymond MacDonald, co-founder of Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra. Crispell was the special guest at last year's GIO Fest, expanding on a partnership first forged in 2010. Recorded at that year's London Jazz Festival, Parallel Moments is an intimate and richly imaginative duo set.

The opening ballad, 'Longing', sees MacDonald weave melodic alto sax over Crispell's lush chording, with his raspy tone on the chorus bringing a passionate edge. 'Town and City Halls' is altogether starker, with MacDonald's sustained tones offset by Crispell's masterfully restrained one-hand piano statements. With 'Notes in the Sky', MacDonald channels Evan Parker with soprano loops and squawks, while the title track features some inspired inside piano from Crispell, her fingers dancing around the frame and rubbing the strings to create deep resonant tones.

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