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Vancouver’s Now Orchestra have been a 15-piece improvisational ensemble since 1977. On this 2005 Victo release they are joined by pianist Marilyn Crispell with phenomenal results. Veteran Crispell has worked with the likes of Reggie Workman and was with Anthony Braxton’s band for 10 years. She worked previously with Now Orchestra in 1988.
Tracks 1. “Pola” & 3. “March” are throwaway exercises in jazz charts for musicians only.
Track 2. “Yin Yang” is the only Marilyn Crispell composition and it is breathtakingly brilliant. Like a concerto grosso in 3 movements, the first features ghostly guitar and whispering flute. The second movement begins with Monty Pythonesque clippity clop coconut percussion and jumbled bass, then horns searching for???a cascading piano solo. Movement 3 is a sublime ambient tension releaser.
Track 4. “M.C.” builds slowly to a free jazz crescendo with clanging piano solo, then breaks for a melancholy interlude before ending with a scatting wild-woman finish.
Track 5. “Broken Dreams” is beautiful and subdued, bridging the gap between jazz and modern classical with a quavery voice coming in at the end.
Track 6. “Suffused with Blue Light”begins with quiet cacophony giving way to a brilliant bass solo and a cool spoken word section before returning to chaos.
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