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Marilyn & Tani 

Marilyn Crispell and Tani Tabbal will play at the Bearsville Theater on Saturday, August 8, at 8 PM.

Marilyn Crispell and Tani Tabbal are two of the finest American musicians. In a just world, they would be as famous as Taylor Swift. Also, they are local. They draw their inspiration from the creeks and mist of the Catskills. Most people forget that rural jazz exists, but in fact it’s thriving.

Improvised music teaches the wisdom of flow. Two master improvisers like Tani and Marilyn can feel their way through time, like a blind woman fingering the sleeves of a suit jacket.

Marilyn Crispell’s music has an affinity with that of Alice Coltrane, the wife of John, who played both piano and harp, and produced shimmering, engulfing waves of sound. Marilyn’s art is somehow cavelike. As she plays, she seems to be hollowing out the earth to create a livable room.

Tani plays with elastic joy. He began performing at the age of 14, and has collaborated with Sun Ra, Henry Threadgill, Dewey Redman, Mel Jackson, Cassandra Wilson and numerous other jazz greats. Tani’s wide-ranging curiosity and love of all musical genres shows in his drumming. He can combine punk, Techno, blues & drum’n’bass influences in one solo.

A piano is a percussion instrument, of course. Hidden (soft) hammers collide with strings. Also, drums can play melodies! At his solo performance at Arts Upstairs in Phoenicia on June 4, Tani played “Round Midnight” by Thelonious Monk entirely on drums. And I recognized the tune! This duo show may be a meditation on the percussiveness of piano and the piano-ness of drums. Maybe you should go hear for yourself?

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