Birthday: Marilyn Crispell

For 25 years, Marilyn Crispell has been one of jazz's greatest experimental pianists.

Born in Philadelphia in 1947, Crispell began learning piano at age 7 and went on to study at Baltimore's Peabody School of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

After graduating in 1969, she cut short her music career by getting married and pursuing other options. But in 1974, after divorcing, she heard John Coltrane's A Love Supreme and was inspired to take up music again in Boston.

She toured Europe in 1978 with reed player and composer Anthony Braxton's Creative Music Studio and soon began to develop her own music, releasing a large number of solo and collaborative albums through the '80s and '90s. Her music is always energetic, as with the 1992 composition "Bass Voodoo" (RealAudio excerpt), and incorporates unusual rhythms and tempos. Crispell performs with jazz's most progressive artists, including drummer Gerry Hemingway, saxophonist Evan Parker, bassist Barry Guy and others.

Other birthdays for March 30: Karl Berger, 1935; John Eaton, 1935.