“One Dark Night...” is Rothenberg’s debut for this label; an earlier release, “Whale Music” included contributions from two ECM aligned violinists, Nils Økland and Michelle Makarski. Amongst his other recordings is “Bangalore Wild”, a collaboration with the Karnataka College Of Percussion. Rothenberg is also well-known as a philosopher/naturalist and the author of a number of books on man’s relationship to nature. He is the author of “Why Birds Sing”, on making music with birds, also published in England, Italy, Spain, Taiwan, China, Korea, and Germany. It was turned into a feature length BBC TV documentary. His most recent book, “Thousand Mile Song”, is on making music with whales. Other books include “Sudden Music”, “Blue Cliff Record”, “Hand’s End” and “Always the Mountains”. “Why Birds Sing” is available from Basic Books in the USA, Penguin in the UK, Springer in Germany, and Ponte alle Grazie in Italy. “Thousand Mile Song” is published by Basic Books in the USA and the UK.
Marilyn Crispell’s stated goal, in playing fixed pieces or improvisations, is to play music “only from the heart“ and to rule out any habitual or stylized expression. Some press commentators have remarked on stylistic differences between Crispell’s work for ECM and her earlier music. She touches on this in a recent issue (April 2010) of US magazine Chronogram. “I wouldn’t so much say that my style has changed over the years; more that it’s just opened up. I’ve always been more comfortable in the right half of my brain, which I guess is why I got into improvising in the first place. But to me the energy music I did earlier and the quieter stuff I’ve been doing lately are equally intense. They’re just two sides of the same coin.”
A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music where she studied classical piano and composition, Crispell has been a resident of Woodstock, New York since 1977 when she came to study and teach at the Creative Music Studio. She discovered jazz through the music of John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor and other contemporary jazz players and composers. For ten years she was a member of the Anthony Braxton Quartet and the Reggie Workman Ensemble and has been a member of the Barry Guy New Orchestra and guest with his London Jazz Composers Orchestra, as well as a member of the Henry Grimes Trio. Besides working as a soloist and leader of her own groups, Crispell has performed and recorded extensively with well-known players on the American and international jazz scene. She's also performed and recorded music by contemporary composers Robert Cogan, Pozzi Escot, John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, Manfred Niehaus and Anthony Davis (including performances of his opera "X" with the New York City Opera).
Crispell‘s ECM debut of “Nothing ever was, anyway”, a double album of Annette Peacock’s music, was very well received, collecting an album of the year prize in France, Jazzman’s ‘Choc de l’année 1997’. It was followed by two more trio discs - “Amaryllis” (recorded in 2000), and ”Storyteller” (recorded 2003). Crispell also appeared on Anders Jormin’s song cycle “In winds, in light” (recorded 2003), alongside singer Lena Willemark. In 2007, she recorded the solo album “Vignettes”. As Graham Lock wrote in International Piano: “With ‘Vignettes’, her first solo release for ECM, Marilyn Crispell ventures further into the fleeting, fragmentary lyricism that has become her principal creative focus in recent years. The ‘delicacy’ and ‘inner space’ she cited as crucial elements on her previous trio recordings for the label are accentuated here… This is also a tensile, tough-minded music, its stark abstraction as challenging as it is alluring.”