Marilyn Crispell, Gary Peacock, Paul Motian

Return of the great American jazz trio that delivered the poll-topping "Nothing Ever Was, Anyway" in 1997. Material heard on "Amaryllis" is by turns thoughtful, touching, joyous and viscerally exciting. Some of the songs are well known – almost classics of new jazz – including Crispell’s "Rounds", Peacock’s "Requiem" and "December Wings, Motian’s "Conception Vessel". There are also a number of startlingly effective free improvised ballads. As leader Marilyn Crispell says, "There’s a great depth of communication, a rare delicacy. " Interaction between the musicians is exceptional.

Featured Artists Recorded

February 2000, Avatar Studios, New York

  • 1Voice from the Past
    (Gary Peacock)
  • 2Amaryllis
    (Marilyn Crispell)
  • 3Requiem
    (Gary Peacock)
  • 4Conception Vessel / Circle Dance
    (Paul Motian)
  • 5Voices
    (Paul Motian)
  • 6December Greenwings
    (Gary Peacock)
  • 7Silence
    (Marilyn Crispell)
  • 8M.E. (for Manfred Eicher)
    (Paul Motian)
  • 9Rounds
    (Marilyn Crispell)
  • 10Avatar
    (Marilyn Crispell)
  • 11Morpion
    (Paul Motian)
  • 12Prayer
    (Mitchell Weiss)
BBC Music Magazine, Pick of the month
Diapason D’Or
Jazzman, Choc du mois
Recommandé par Classica
Stereoplay, CD des Monats
Marilyn Crispell has made two of the most beautiful piano trio records in recent memory...Nothing Ever Was, Anyway gave the first intimation of a different Ms Crispell: elegiac, meditative, more inclined to let the spaces between the notes breathe. The Annette Peacock tribute which marked the beginning of her association with ECM, seems to have liberated her. Ms Crispell's new sensibility has grown even more pronounced on the new album. A richly melancholic collection of improvisations and compositions by each member of her the trio, Amaryllis is suffused with a romanticism that Nothing Ever Was hinted at but held in check. It's also a record by a mature woman who knows something of solitude: sorrowful, yet finally affirmative, in the way that Joni Mitchell can be.
Adam Shatz, New York Times
Marilyn Crispell follows up her first ECM album with more contemporary classics, this time by members of her group (bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Paul Motian), alongside some remarkable free Improv. It's not only the material that's altered: on Amaryllis, Crispell shows a tender, reflective side that contrasts with her earlier career as high energy disciple of Cecil Taylor. It could be the most profoundly beautiful album she has yet released. ... There's a crystalline clarity about her lines but no easily grasped melodicism, except in the theme statements of compositions by Peacock and Motian. In contrast with the darker Nothing Ever Was, Anyway, this new ECM recording brings out her nuanced control of dynamics as never before - though her stylistic development could also be a factor here. ... This is certainly one of the great piano trios of today - all the more pity, then, that its opportunities for live performance have so far been limited.
Andy Hamilton, The Wire
Like its predecessor, Amaryllis is an album that draws the listener into a pulse and a breath-slowing, contemplative mood, which allows undercurrents of edginess and intensity to ripple through without dousing the listener with cold water. The programme is a strangely savoury mix of luminous introspection, dark moods, and spark-shooting passion. Its immediate appeal stems from the empathetic, dovetailing interaction within the trio.
Bill Shoemaker, Jazzreview
Like running into a relative of somebody you know well, this probing set betrays a gesture here, a mannerism there, a certain chime to a laugh or intensity of glance that is at once familiar and new. At times it's like listening to a Keith Jarrett or Bill Evans trio, but with those pianists' vocabularies eerily rewritten. For two decades, Marilyn Crispell has been one of the most highly regarded pianists at the sharp end of contemporary jazz. This Baltimore-raised musician went to the New England Conservatory to study classical music, and then became diverted by the work of Cecil Taylor and John Coltrane. She eventually became keyboard partner for the fearsome multi-instrumentalist and composer Anthony Braxton, with whom she could share enthusiasms from Coltrane to Hildegard of Bingen....
This set has Crispell investigating a more lyrical and less awesomely pianistic music. Four of the pieces were improvised from the off, but sound like compositions, such is their conviction and clarity of phrasing. The ruminative opening passages, initially draped around Gary Peacock's plummy, luxurious bass sound, reflect the atmosphere of the whole set. Paul Motian, one of the closest things to a sound-painter in the jazz drumming, rustles around Crispell, scattering offbeat snare sounds and brief shimmers of cymbals, occasionally hinting at distantly martial tattoos that cajole and fade.
Marilyn Crispell has grown more intrigued by the late Bill Evans in recent years, and the connection is clear in the voicings of some chords, even if there is little of Evans's urgent orthodox swing. Requiem, a piece that echoes Crispell's baroque-music origins, also recalls the dolorous harmonies of Annette Peacock a composer to whom Crispell devoted an earlier trio disc. (Nothing ever was, anyway, ECM 1626)
Not all the music is reflective - December Greenwings has a folksy, countryfied line and a playful skippy feel in Crispell's improvising, and on the fast, liquid Rounds Crispell plays a devastating solo of tidal energies and hurtling precision. ...
John Fordham, The Guardian
The heart of this music lies in four pieces collectively improvised in the studio. Amarylls, Voices, M.E. and Avatar are all spacey, delicate forays, almost free-form ballads that take the listener through an interior soundscape of hushed, filigree beauty. Peacock's fluent bass and Motian's ultrasensitive percussion are vital factors, yet it's Crispell's sureness of touch that stands out; her choice of notes are pared back in Zenlike economy.
Graham Lock, JazzTimes
Peacock's Voice from the Past is the perfect title to open this album of lush, impressionistic, relatively dark "mood" music by three artists whose collaborative spirits are in full flower. ... A feature of Amaryllis is the sections of spontaneous composition, where free, open-ended playing follows its own inner logic. This logic does not drive the music so much toward abstraction as it does toward a kind of wayward tunefulness. As a result, the choruses, the recurrences and conventional measures are suspended in the name of pure expression.
John Ephland, Schwann Inside
Atemberaubend, wie die zierliche Pianistin konzentriert Ton an Ton setzt, den zarten Klängen ausreichend Raum und Zeit lässt. Souverän webt Gary Peacock seine Basslinien ein, und Paul Motian schafft jenseits aller Beats einigende Strukturen. So gerät Amaryllis zu einem beeindruckenden Manifest musikalischer Freiheiten: In blindem Verstehen entfaltet sich ein mild changierendes Feuerwerk brillanter Ideen, die bei aller Ernsthaftigkeit doch herrlich unbeschwert erklingen.
Sven Thielmann, Stereoplay
Nach dem Trio-Vorgänger von 1997 spielen sie nun klassische Kompositionen aus ihrem eigenen Katalog, aber es sind die dazwischen gestreuten ruhigen, freien Impressionen, die das Album so zeitlos machen. In grossen Bögen atmen diese Stücke und werden im Inneren durch den Abbruch der allzu offenbaren Beziehungen vorm Schwelgen bewahrt. Ahnbare Melodien erscheinen, gebrochene Harmonien, ein schwebendes Metrum, das alles zusammenhält, es ist eine Stimmung der Gelassenheit, die alles grundiert. Ohne dieses Gefühl könnte die Musik in eine Summe von Stimmen zerfallen, so schafft sie einen Raum, den man vertrauensvoll betreten kann, ohne jeden einzeln begrüssen zu müssen.
Konrad Heidkamp, Die Zeit
Eine Musik, die über die mechanischen Bewegungsgesetze der Harmonielehre triumphiert, die bisweilen fast zum Stillstand kommt und einzelnen Tönen Raum schafft. In ihrer Bereitschaft, aufeinander zu hören und ihre Ideen ineinander zu verzahnen, sind Marilyn Crispell, Gary Peacock und Paul Motian eine Traumformation improvisierter Musik. Auf Amaryllis, der zweiten Platte der drei, stellt das Trio seine freie Interpretationen vor: Nichts ist hier Effekt, nichts Demonstration, nichts Routine - alles nur Musik.
Steffen Hentz, Financial Times Deutschland
In Momenten des Glücks überwindet die Kunst die Schwerkraft der Verhältnisse. Spielend und spielerisch stellt sie die Gesetze der Physik auf den Kopf, zum Beispiel das, nach welchem das Volumen eines Raums, von der Dicke der Haut abgesehen, von außen betrachtet das gleiche sei wie von innen. ... Nichts anderes, scheint mir, ist in der Sequenz von zwölf Stücken zu erfahren, welche die Pianistin Marilyn Crispell mit ihren langjährigen Partnern und Weggefährten Gary Peacock und Paul Motion eingespielt hat: zum Teil weit zurückreichende Kompositionen aller drei Beteiligten und in vier Fällen frei improvisierte Piecen, die klingen, als wären sie komponiert – offene Formen, die beben vor Interaktion und hellwacher gegenseitiger Aufmerksamkeit. ... In jeder dehnen sich die Innenräume wie Asien, und die Zeit verändert ihren Aggregatszustand, manchmal fast bis zum Stillstand. ... Crispell ist zweifellos eine eminente, sich jedem Risiko aussetzende Spontanerfinderin, komplex, aber nicht atonal, weit entfernt von jenem brachialen Kaputtspiel-Vitalismus, den wir vor einem Vierteljahrhundert einst mit Free Jazz assoziierten, mit ihrer fein ziselierten offenen Kammer-Kunst geradezu am andern Ende, also bei sich angelangt. ... Amaryllis, so heißt ihr neustes Blumenstück, ist eine grosse CD.
Peter Rüedi, Die Weltwoche
Je trouve cette musique touchante et magnifique. Elle semble venir naturellement, avec un grand sens de l'espace et de la respiration. Marilyn se laisse porter par ce qu'il y a d'unique dans le jeu de Peacock et celui de Motian, et s'exprime elle-même avec une simplicité et une sincérité profondément humaines. J'apprécie également les dynamiques et des phrases des morceaux plus énergiques qui viennent enrichir l'univers du double disque précédent.
Stephan Oliva, Jazzman (Choc jazzman)
2023March 30Big Ears FestivalKnoxville TN, United States
2023April 02Bard CollegeAnnandale-On-Hudson NY, United States