Complete Text of Reviews

Lois Moody

Relaxed, swinging duo on track of brilliance

Connie Crothers/Richard Tabnik
Duo Dimension
(New Artists 1003)

Piano and alto sax are paired in this program of nice original pieces plus the ballad oldie Star Eyes. Connie Crothers plays with great strength and fire, yet seems to draw her lines with lightness and a fine edge. Her rhythmic sense never wavers, even in the most "outside," adventurous constructions she develops with Richard Tabnik.

Some of the airy dryness of the late altoist Paul Desmond color his sound, but Tabnik follows a different path in term of in terms of both harmonic conception and energy He and Crothers obviously share close ties in this music which is both individualistic and a direct descendant of the late pianist/teacher Lennie Tristano. Substantial and refreshing. [--Lois Moody, OTTAWA CITIZEN, April 15, 1988] [**Critics Choice Top Ten 1988**]

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Kevin Whitehead

Connie Crothers/ Richard Tabnik
Duo Dimension
New Artists 1003

Smile, My Baby/ Star Eyes/ Jazz Scenery/ Intuition Blues/ Afternoon at the Chelsea/ Awareness/ Sweet, Not Salty/ A Different Place/ Delirium/ Duo Dimension

Crothers, p; Tabnik, as. 3/21/87

Connie Crothers/Richard Tabnik
Duo Dimension
(New Artists 1003)

Awhile ago this reviewer gave a positive review to an album by a onetime student of Lennie Tristano and Warne Marsh; he is reportedly ticked that critics would fixate on those associations. Mindful of that, I looked for a way to write about Connie Crothers and Richard Tabnik without talking about Tristano and Lee Konitz. The closest I got was copy peppered with *L____ T____'s and *L___ K____'es.

Lennie's enduring legacy is that very few musicians who came under his direct influence and dug into the style in a meaningful way ever moved very far away from it --which is the real reason his name keeps coming up. If some of us have chided the school for mimicking the teacher too closely, it follows that one can't do this album justice without acknowledging how successfully it avoids that failing. From the opening bars of "Smile, My Baby"-- the first headless piece of rustled cattle in their herd of American Bopular [sic] progressions -- the stylistic departure points are conspicuously posted. But just as Lennie was best at his most raucous, Crothers and Tabnik curry favor by playing pretty hot -- like her mentor, she careens, her let's headlong linear momentum suggesting an eternal heroic struggle to catch up with the beat. "Afternoon at the Chelsea", "Awareness", and "Delirium" flirt with free tendencies in various ways; Tabnik's tone may break up in choked emphasis. His lines are more squally than Konitz's, his timbre more harsh without losing that cottony quality.

This mutually responsive pair egg each other on -- solidly rooted in a style, they don't pause to worry about any parameters of permissible behavior. Their immersion is the philosophy of the music puts them well beyond a need to copy particular instrumental stylist. They swim on their own, unshackled. But it's silly to wink at such strong influences, pretending they're of marginal relevance. You can hear them in almost every stroke. {--Kevin Whitehead, CADENCE Magazine, June 1988, p.74]

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KANU 91.5 FM
Bob Hammond, jazz director

Dear New Artists-
Thanks much for sending the *DUO DIMENSION* album by Connie Crothers and Richard Tabnik.

We and our listeners have been impressed with Connie Crothers* work on prior releases by New Artists and Inner City but Richard Tabnik is new to us. His alto playing is first-rate and the two musicians work together very well!

Thanks again-
Bob Hammond, Jazz Director, KANU 91.5 FM, NPR Affiliate, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.

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Brief Encounters-
by W. Royal Stokes

The dry sonorities and halting movement of Richard Tabnik's alto are complemented by the Monkian jaggedness and listing rhythms of Connie Crothers' piano on DUO DIMENSION (New Artists), nine abstractions composed by this pair plus the 1943 "Star Eyes".[--W. Royal Stokes, JAZZTIMES Magazine, May 1988, p.25]

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by B.D.

Connie Crothers, DUO DIMENSION, Ten duos with alto saxophonist Richard Tabnik. Rather harshly recorded, but thought fully played. Crothers treats dissonance as an expressive tool rather than a pianist gimmick. Though not quite a tour de force, these performances are intelligent, exploratory, and well-crafted. [B.D., KEYBOARD Magazine]

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cd & record reviews-
by Steve Hahn

Connie Crothers and Richard Tabnik offer comparable but vastly different aesthetic pleasures for those willing to hear beyond the rather austere sonorities of their duo collaboration. Tabnik's alto is dry, brittle and harsh with not an ounce of vibrato, suggesting Desmond with all the warmth sucked out. Crothers, likewise, is loath to employ any sustain that might warm her tone and the stabbing rhythms and dissonant harmonies she prefers are just as likely to put off a listener as Tabnik. Yet despite the parched aural terrain there is a very profound communication going on between the protagonists. Their rhythmic invention springs from contrapuntalism that is at its most extreme on Jazz Scenery where thematic fragments chase their own tails from start to finish. Surprisingly, for such cerebral music, there is a strong blues component, especially in Crothers' playing, though transformed thoroughly by her unique sensibility. Duo Dimension gives up its pleasures only gradually, but no less surely. {--Steve Hahn, JAZZTIMES Magazine, July 1990, p.32]

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