Connie Crothers & Bill Payne: The Desert and The City


The Desert and The City


Connie Crothers (piano) and Bill Payne (clarinet)


Conversations (New Artists 1044CD)

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Connie Crothers (piano), Bill Payne (clarinet).

Composed by Connie Crothers & Bill Payne


Recorded: Brooklyn, NY, October 13-14 & 16, 2006


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Clarinetist Bill Payne is the very definition of the itinerant musician—his extensive résumé lists stints with at several traveling circuses, Broadway and Vegas shows, tours with the Russ Carlyle Orchestra, cruise-ship bands, and the infrequent bad day gig. Pianist Crothers's pedigree is a bit purer from a jazz perspective: once the protégé of Lennie Tristano, she remains one of the most exceptional representatives of his musical philosophy. Payne cites studies with Crothers as a turning point in his life. He's now obviously her peer. This track presents the pair in intense one-on-one engagement. Payne's non-tonal lines are classically tinged, augmented by a jazz musician's concern with forward motion and free expression. Crothers has the touch of a first-rate Debussy interpreter, and here her lines as well possess an impressionistic strain. Each player gives as much as he/she takes. Their interplay is indeed conversational, albeit highly animated—even argumentative. Crothers's status as one of the most accomplished in/out improvisers is only enhanced by this release. Payne's rep, newly minted compared to hers, benefits even more.

Reviewer: Chris Kelsey

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  • 1 Bill Payne // Sep 03, 2008 at 06:10 PM
    Chris, Just a short note of thanks for the great review, I really appreciate it. Warmest regards, Bill Payne