Nothing Ever Was, Anyway: Music of Annette Peacock

Nothing Ever Was, Anyway: Music of Annette Peacock is an album by pianist Marilyn Crispell, bassist Gary Peacock, and drummer Paul Motian recorded in 1996 and released on the ECM label.

Annette Peacock (born 1941) is an American composer, singer, songwriter, producer, arranger, and musician. She is a pioneer in electronic music who combined her voice with one of the first Moog synthesizers in the late 1960s. She is the ex-wife of bassist Gary Peacock and pianist Paul Bley, both of whom have recorded her music.

Marilyn Crispell’s ECM debut explores the unique sound-world of Annette Peacock’s ballads. Peacock’s songs have provided almost a leitmotif at ECM through the decades, but the composer herself feels that the renditions on Nothing Ever Was, Anyway are definitive, giving the project her seal of approval with the guest vocal on ‘Dreams’. Crispell woodshedded in Woodstock with Peacock for months before the recording, selecting material and fine-tuning interpretive possibilities.

annette peacockWhat makes this music so special is the pianism of Marilyn Crispell, usually associated with fiery improvisations and raucous solo and trio dates, with the music of Anthony Braxton. Peacock and Motian have played in restrained, quiet, mysterious bands for years, either with Paul Bley, John Surman, Bill Frisell, or any number of other ECM stalwarts. This situation, which places Ms. Crispell in the role of the “singing voice” — a place Ms. Peacock normally retains for herself — offers a different hierarchy of colors in her compositional field.

Performed as a suite of instrumental poems, not of the tonal variety as in classical music, but as in the syntactical and flowing variety found in literature, this collection does two things: it establishes the deep world of Ms. Peacock’s often shadowy but nonetheless imposing and impressive lyricism that transcends all musical genres, and offers a dynamic shift not only for the material, but for Ms. Crispell, whose lyrical side listeners have seldom, if ever, heard before on record.  (AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek)

Nothing Ever Was, Anyway (Version 1)
Marilyn Crispell, Gary Peacock & Paul Motian

Release date: 01.09.1997
ECM 1626/27
Format : 2-CD
To purchase.

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