By Alex W. Rodríguez | Published November 2020
On their first recording together, pianists Angelica Sanchez and Marilyn Crispell bring together deep wells of experience at the jazz and creative music vanguard. How To Turn The Moon features this intergenerational duo exploring the edges of their respective imaginations through in-the-moment collaboration, the occasionally intense flourishes and dense clusters of sound belying a playful intimacy.
Sanchez’s compositional sketches outline the framework for some of the pieces; others are entirely improvised by the pair. Both approaches lead to similarly exciting moments and a wide range of moods and timbres—from the dramatic, percussive contrasts of “Space Junk” to the hypnotically lyrical melodic fragments in “Ceiba Portal.”
The delicate, slower moments that linger between phrases—amid the spacious chords of “Windfall Light,” for example—are a testament to the expressive and dynamic range that both pianists display throughout. The two balance well together, darting between the rush of new ideas and responding to the each other’s call. On “Rain In Web,” the explosive energy that Crispell long has been known for erupts, eliciting scintillating flourishes from both players. Elsewhere, as on the closing track “Fires In Space,” energy emerges from the dance of improvisation over repeated figures penned by Sanchez.
Throughout, the pair impress with their commitment to the exploration of a vast range of sonic territories. Although it’s often hard to tell who’s leading and who’s following, together the duo invite listeners to a dance where they investigate each moment’s possibility.
How To Turn The Moon: Lobe Of The Fly; Ancient Dream; Calyces Of Held; Space Junk; Ceiba Portal; Windfall Light; Twisted Roots; Sullivan’s Universe; Rain In Web; Fires In Space. (49:18)
Personnel: Angelica Sanchez, Marilyn Crispell, piano.