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Nothing Ever Was, Anyway - Music of Annette Peacock Double CD, Original recording reissued

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (19 Dec. 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD, Original recording reissued
  • Label: ECM
  • ASIN: B000007Y6B
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 90,195 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Nothing Ever Was, Anyway (Version 1)
  2. Butterflies That I Feel Inside Me
  3. Open, To Love
  4. Cartoon
  5. Albert's Love Theme
  6. Dreams (If Time Weren't)

Disc: 2

  1. Touching
  2. Both
  3. You've Left Me
  4. Miracles
  5. Ending
  6. Blood
  7. Nothing Ever Was, Anyway (Version 2)

Product Description

Product Description

Recorded 1996

Personnel: Marilyn Crispell (piano), Gary Peacock (bass), Paul Motian (drums), Annette Peacock (voice - Disc 1, track 6)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
On the face of it pianist Marilyn Crispell, arguably one of the most skilful and trenchant interpreters of Anthony Braxton's knotty musical abstractions, is not the first name that springs to mind when it comes to interpreting Annette Peacock's radically different music, but listening to this set might well make the listener do some quadruple takes, for the air of mystery that's often an integral part of Peacock the composer is coaxed out here as the music takes its time in weaving its subtle magic.

Gary Peacock and drummer Motian are as apt as any bass player or drummer for this programme, although I must confess I don't know if Peacock A. and Peacock G. were / are married. The same goes for whether or not she was ever married to Paul Bley, but the comparing and contrasting of the title track of this set with Bley's reading of it on his seminal OPEN, TO LOVE solo piano set is enlightening. On this set the stealth the music moves with is extraordinary testament to how this trio intuitively knows each other. Crispell's keyboard touch, captured with the sometimes antiseptic fidelity the ECM label goes in for, is enhanced by it. It's as if she has rare insight into the composer's intentions on a woman-to-woman basis, and although it might be risky proposing that the music thus has `feminine' qualities, maybe there isn't really a more apt way of expressing it.

When A. Peacock sings on "Dreams (if time weren't) she reminds us at once of what a gloriously iconoclastic figure she is. The song is in effect the `art song' taken to a level not yet dreamed up by any academy, although when she speaks part of the lyric the echoes of Schoenberg's PIERROT LUNAIRE are present but very, very, VERY distant.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A beautiful record by one of my favourite jazz pianists if more lyrical and restrained than the previous, forceful, fierce attacking style in her catalogue. Superb whether on stereo or, particularly, on earphones.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ecstatic Lyricism from a Free Jazz Wonder 1 Nov. 2002
By Christopher Forbes - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is one of those quintessentially sombre ECM albums, and depending on the responses that description evokes in you, you should either rush out and get this one or avoid it like the plague. Crispell is one of the finest free players to come out of the 1980's. She first made her name playing in Anthony Braxton's marvelous 80's band, where her classical phrasing, elegant tone and uncompromisingly dissonant approach to Braxton's modernist compositions was constistently surprising. She helped to make that Braxton quartet one of the most constistently inventive ensembles Braxton put together.
On her own, Crispell has retained a certain "European" coolness...almost an intellectuality along with a frenetic style derived primarily from Cecil Taylor by way of Stockhausen. But that is not really in evidence on this CD. Rather, here we find the lyrical Crispell, diving into the hauntingly beautiful ballads of Annette Peacock with love and passion. As might be suspected, she often reminds one of Paul Bley Bley put his unmistakeable stamp on this music with his recordings of it in the 60's and 70's. But this is not just Bley revamped. Crispell is her own soloist. One moment she is stark and almost Feldmanesque (Morton Feldman that is) and the next moment she is rhapsodic, with a touch and harmonic sense that reveal the warmth and glow of Bill Evans.
The trio on this date is excellent. Paul Motian got his start playing with Evans, and understands the piano trio perhaps better than any other free drummer with the possible exception of Barry Altshul (and Jack DeJohnette if you consider him a free drummer). He is able to suspend the time without loosing momentum, and his brush work is exquisite. Gary Peacock is one of the finest of bass players, and of course his pedigree in the music of his ex-wife is stellar. (How he ever managed to remain both the friend and collaborator of both Bley and Annette Peacock during his divorce and her subsequent marriage to Bley is beyond me...but hey! it was the 60's.)Sound, as is usual for ECM is open, spacious and atmospheric.
This is great music for late nights. It has that classic three-in-the-morning feel to it. But it is not all just atmosphere. Crispell, Peacock and Motian make sure that this music retains depth of thought and feeling. Stands up there with the classic Bley trio recordings, and that's high praise indeed!
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The art of the free jazz ballad 26 May 2001
By N. Dorward - Published on
Format: Audio CD
When this recording came out in 1997 it was greeted with a lot of praise in the music press. I only belatedly got it last month; I was initially pretty disappointed with it, though I've come to appreciate it rather better since then. It is almost self-parodic in its fulfillment of the ECM aesthetic: two CDs of often ponderous & portentous but always immaculately-played & beautifully-recorded free-tempo ballads, by the cult composer/singer Annette Peacock. Crispell is best known for her combustible piano playing, which is one of the most individual developments of the Cecil Taylor line of free jazz. But there's always been something of a new-agey side to her music, too (not for nothing is one of her discs called _Gaia_); one might also more generously point to her increasingly obvious devotion to the music of Bill Evans (her earlier disc _Contrasts: Live at Yoshi's_ contains a couple Evans tunes...though she manages to mistake the structure of "Turn Out the Stars", alas). Her ballad-playing throughout her career has been typically heavily rubato, & often extravagantly rhapsodic & emotional; her rhapsodic side, though, is reigned in on _Nothing ever was, anyway_, & the tenor of the album is instead cool & understated for the most part. This is mostly sober & sombre stuff, though there's a fine humour on show in "cartoon".
As the foregoing suggests, this isn't an album that greatly moves me. But it would be churlish of me to give it a low rating, given the evident devotion of all the players involved to the music, & their often excellent performances. Paul Motian in particular is a key voice on the album--he's played with Crispell before, & they seem entirely in sync here; indeed, on several tracks Peacock either lays out entirely or plays very little, foregrounding the Crispell-Motian duet.
Two small notes. Annette Peacock herself guests on one track, "Dreams (If time weren't)". I think she's destined to remain a cult singer: some will find her wayward pitching as grating as fingernails on a chalkboard. That doesn't bother me unduly, but the sheer pretentiousness & awkward literariness of her lyrics do. -- Secondly: this album is issued as a double-CD but buyers should be aware that it contains only just a little more than could fit on a single disc. If the extra take of the title track that forms a coda to the 2nd disc had been omitted then it could have been a one-disc set.
A worthwhile recording, though I prefer some of Crispell's warmer & more varied discs like _Santuerio_. Those who enjoy it will want to catch _Amaryllis_, a recent disc that reunites this trio to perform their own material.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For dedicated fans of Crispell and/or Annette Peacock 5 Dec. 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Crispell's interpretations of the music of Annette Peacock are not for everyone. Most people have never heard of Peacock and have nothing to compare it to. Peacock's songs - all written, apparently, during the 60's are bitter-sweet, poingant in the extreme. Crispell brings her enormous power as a classically trained pianist to the interpretation of such little masterpieces as "Both" , "touching" and "open, to love". Inevitably the music must be compared to the definitive interpretations of the same music by Paul Bley's trio albums from the 60's and 70's. Crispell's approach is somewhat more lyrical if less dramatic. It is obvious that her drummer, Paul Motion, has listened to the nervous probing drumming of Barry Altschul who worked on Bley's albums. If you like this album, do explore Bley's work, especially early albums like "Ramblin'" and "open, to love". His later album, "Annette", likewise dedicated to Peacock's music, is to my mind, a little weak.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes It Was! 6 July 2009
By Karl W. Nehring - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This two-CD set, which sells for the price of one, answers that burning question, "What if Anton Webern had started a jazz trio?" Well, that's sort of what "Nothing ever was, anyway" sounds like, anyway. The musical texture is generally quite wispy, with Marilyn Crispell's piano often playing a single note at a time, supported with spare intensity by Gary Peacock's bass and the drums of Paul Motian. The music does not so much flow as probe, but move forward it does--slowly, probingly, inevitably along. This is not music that I can easily recommend to everyone, but to those with ears to hear (those who find the music of Webern and Berg bracing and stimulating from time to time) will find it bracing and stimulating.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting revisiting of some well known material 15 Mar. 2000
By Tim Young - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Annette Peacock - where is she, why hasn't she recorded for such a long time? A phenomenally talented artist, Peacock wrote - and sang - some of the best known and loved material in the free repertoire. Anyone well acquainted with the recordings of Paul Bley, Gary Peacock inter alia will recognise many themes featured on this album. The playing is exemplary - Crispell's faithful interpretations are well supported by Gary Peacock and Paul Motian. Many coming to this recording afresh will find it somewhat astringent - not immediately lovable - but do please make an effort. The moving ballad "Both" is a good place to start. Certainly to my delight, Annette herself sings on "Dreams" - a beautiful voice. I felt twenty five years fall away in a moment. I just wish ECM could persuade Ms Peacock to record an entirely sung album of her material.
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