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Marilyn Crispell and Gary Peacock have been playing duo concerts for several years, but before Azure they had recorded together only on the pianist’s trio albums. While both are adept at everything from total improvisation to contemporary composition, freeform dialogues predominate here, whether in the playful, scampering Patterns, the thoughtful push-pull of Blue or the lyrical Azure. The track list divides up neatly: it includes three compositions each, three joint improvisations and one brief solo apiece. The album’s title, says Crispell, comes from the music’s ‘sense of spaciousness’, which she likens to ‘open blue sea or sky’, and the mood throughout is relaxed, although the pair remain keenly alert to every subtle inflection of their interplay. This is not the explosive free jazz of Albert Ayler or Cecil Taylor, but its slow-burn chemistry proves no less enthralling.

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Piano International, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing