Connie Crothers playing my piano at Studio 725 Albuquerque — March 25, 2001 — photo by Mark Weber
The Thursday Jazz Radio Show
September 8, 2o16 Jazz @ Noon every Thursday (starts at 12:07 after the satellite news) Host MARK WEBER KUNM Albuquerque, USA 89.9 FM (Mountain Standard Time) also streaming on the web KUNM.org Current time zone offset: UTC*/GMT -6 hours (*Coordinated Universal Time)/Greenwich Mean Time)
THE WORLD OF CONNIE CROTHERS
Today we’ll pay tribute to a person who gave her all to music. Connie never backed away from the edge, she always jumped right in. The deep end. We could use more bravery like that in this world.
Connie Crothers was teacher, friend, ally, and advocate to so many over the years. Today we’ll not only spin some of Connie’s music but also the music of her “associates” (a term she preferred).
Connie was one of those New Yorkers that read books (she was a refusenik as regards television — never had one), went to art galleries regularly (she had many artist friends, one time when I was there she was on the telephone with sculptor Deborah Masters), poetry readings (she attended a Theodore Roethke reading during her Berkeley days “it left a powerful impression”), films occasionally (I remember her and Max were big on that documentary about some tagger/graffiti activist), her evenings (when not teaching her three days out of the week) were always out on the town either playing, jamming, sitting in, or bearing witness. Her last years were a flurry of new musical associations performing with New York (and Detroit) free jazzers of every stripe while always keeping weekly rehearsals with her quartet.
Connie Crothers (May 2, 1941 – August 13, 2o16)
This session is at Connie’s studio in Williamsburg after we had spent all afternoon at Sal’s in Mt Vernon, riding the train up & back, and she still played all night — December 4, 2004 — photo by Mark Weber (that’s Richard Tabnik on alto saxophone)
Connie Crothers and Kazzrie Jaxen — September 18, 2005 Williamsburg — photo by Mark Weber
Jam session at Connie’s: Ed Schuller, bass; Roger Mancuso, drums; Connie Crothers, piano — August 24, 2o12 — photo by Mark Weber — Roger first met Connie in Greenwich Village early 60s at a club where Lennie was playing, he is on her first album PERCEPTION (1974) which at the time of it’s re-release on the Inner City label I was the Los Angeles correspondent for CODA and that magazine had all the writers list their favorite records and in 1980 I put that record at the top of my list, it just blew me away. It wasn’t till sixteen years later that I got acquainted with Connie.
Connie Crothers & Roger Mancuso — We’re in the NYC subway system going somewhere I forgot where — December 5, 2004 — photo by Mark Weber — I have a notebook entry that says CC could be mercurial, which given the dimensions (one of her favorite words) and interweavings of her life is not hard to believe — One time on the telephone I was remonstrating over some issue with a poem I was endeavoring to breath life into and beating myself up she said, “Mark, as long as it’s real” — which has been a touchstone for me ever since . . . .
She was a water person
She must have been an ancient mariner
Never far from the ocean
As a child playing with paper boats in the puddles
Connie was born on coastal California
within sight of the wide Pacific
spent many years growing up near the San Francisco Bay
Set her sails (took a train) for NYC 1962
and spent her entire life then surrounded
by the giant rivers flowing into the Atlantic
Song for a Seagull comes to mind, sung by Andrea
She adapted to city life
told me in the early years you couldn’t find a good cup
…………………….of coffee, the food in restaurants
not much better —
She took work as a typesetter
and studied piano with Lennie
Water is turbulence and placidity
Water is everything
Water is solid, if you approach it too fast
…..it solidifies into a barrier
You could say the piano is a boat
but what if the piano is really the ocean?
Then the pianist would be a sailfish or a Manta ray
surging with the sea tides
We called ourselves the Warne Marsh Appreciation Society — That’s Janet & my kitchen and the tile job I did, you like? Left to right: Richard Tabnik, Roger Mancuso, Connie Crothers, David Parlato, Janet Simon — March 25, 2001 — photo by Mark Weber — They were in town for a concert at the Outpost.
Connie took this photo of me watching Sal Mosca play piano in his studio — December 4, 2004 — Mt Vernon, NY