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Connie Crothers​/​Virg Dzurinko Two​-​Piano Quintet

by Connie Crothers/Virg Dzurinko Two-Piano Quintet

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Ulrich Jonas
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Ulrich Jonas For me - living in Germany - it is a rare opportunity to listen to Connie Crothers in a free live situation. It is a fitting memorial to an improtant artist.
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Free-jazz performance at The Firehouse Space in Brooklyn, New York. Special unedited master recording of the entire concert.

I have known Connie Crothers for my entire adult life, first as a student and later as a close friend and colleague. As piano players, we would sometimes play four-hands on her piano or mine. We'd also meet now and then in practice rooms that had two pianos. Playing side-by-side with Connie was a unique experience. Her energy was irresistible and her range of expression on the piano opened up worlds of sound and feeling. Needless to say, we always had a ball. So "Two-Piano Quintet" has a special meaning for me, because it's a record of the only time Connie and I played together in public.

When Adam Lane invited Connie and me to perform in a free-jazz concert with him, Daniel Carter, and Vijay Anderson, I felt like I was dreaming. I can't really convey how much I love Adam's bass playing, so I'll just say that any time I have a chance to play with him, I'm there. Daniel is one of the most sensitive and deep horn players around, to say nothing of the fact that he's equally astonishing on flute, clarinet, trumpet, and soprano, alto and tenor saxes. Vijay can do it all on the drums, from the most delicate impressionistic soundscapes to grooves so propulsive that it's a thrill to jump on board for the ride.

This concert, originally billed as "Two-Piano Madness," was the very first time we played together as a group. And madness it was, but in the best sense of the word. We had no leader and no plan except to stay tuned in to each other and play as much music as possible. Listening to the recording now, I can hear our individual voices coming together clearly even when we're all going full bore. As for the two pianos, Connie's playing is instantly recognizable throughout — her distinctive phrasing, her unmatched technique, her wild harmonies, her deep time feeling, her fearlessness. But there are moments here and there when I can't distinguish her piano from mine. And for me, that's a dream within a dream.

Many thanks to Jon Rosenberg for generously offering to master our Two-Piano Quintet concert. And finally, hats off to Vijay Anderson for conceiving of Minus Zero as a way to support Planned Parenthood, and for all the hard work he's done to turn his idea into a reality.
—Virg Dzurinko


released May 9, 2017

Connie Crothers - piano
Virg Dzurinko - piano
Adam Lane - bass
Daniel Carter - flute, trumpet, clarinet, saxes (soprano, alto & tenor)
Vijay Anderson - drums



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Connie Crothers/Virg Dzurinko Two-Piano Quintet New York, New York

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