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4.0 out of 5 stars Resigned but emotional quality music, 2 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Azure (Audio CD)
Like there are a great number of recordings called 'Azure' there must be almost equal number of songs called 'Blue'. Actually, that very song is, to me, the best in this good yet slowly unfolding ECM disc.

I divide the performances in this recording into three categories:

1) 5 stars: The pieces 'Leapfrog', 'Lullaby' and both the bass and the piano solo represent a highly expressive, imaginative and - more or less - strongly contoured body of work. The two firstly mentioned express just what the name implies, and do it very beautifully, yet the very Garrison-like bass solo and the tastefully modern piano solo consist of very clearly stated emotions, which make them so pleasing to listen to. 'Blue', despite its patchiness, is a most striking and rhythmic (in the context of the general resigned feeling) performance, with Peacock in one place playing highly expressive pedal point figures under Crispells most lively soloing. There is not much of truly fast playing on this disc, but Crispell shows in certain small portions of this piece that she is capable of that, too.

2) 4 stars: 'Waltz after David M', 'The Lea' and 'Puppets' are emotional and varied [except the firstly mentioned], and a pleasure to hear. These are also the most melodic pieces of the disc, but not just as interesting as the previously mentioned best five.

3) 3 stars: 'Goodbye' and 'Azure' are a bit bland, partly unimaginative, yet still somewhat expressive and [of course] well performed pieces. If this was the standard of this this disc, I wouldn't generally recommend it. Luckily, most of the music here is much better, and makes this record a good buy for many people.

EXTRA: The only difficult piece to rate from this recording, 'Patterns', is partly a highly expressive showcase of style and invention, partly a dull finger exercise on the piano. The piece as a whole is still great, the shortcomings forgivable.

Conclusion: If you've heard Marilyn Crispell with Anthony Braxton, don't expect that kind of music here. The dissonances and the level of modernity are much lower, but mostly to a pleasing effect. Gary Peacock is the remarkable himself, and plays with _great_ command and style, but without much fast passages. The recording is a body of controlled and carefully restrained energy yet also an expressive piece of work, which demands repeated concentrated listening to open up. Once it does, the result is appealing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 19 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Azure (Audio CD)
This is one of those cd's that you chance upon and it surpasses expectations. I have played it over and over and each time hear different nuances, the interplay between the piano and bass is extraordinary, the two of them were never better. At first listening there doesnt seem to be much variety between the tunes but repeated listenings reveal the subtleties, harmonics and spaces abound. This is not "in your face jazz" it doesnt beat you over the head, it is quiet and beautifully stated by two supremely gifted artists. Thoroughly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Azure, 11 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Azure (Audio CD)
Listen to this when you are doing the ironing and there is time to concentrate and no distractions. A quiet, thoughtful moment.
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Azure
Azure by Gary Peacock (Audio CD - 2013)
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