J. Leandre / N. Mitchell / D. Van Der Schyff: Before After (2011)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
One of the preeminent thinkers and bassists within the modern avant-jazz era, Joëlle Léandre shares equal billing on this addition to her voluminous discography. The trio's performance, at a community center in Vancouver, Canada, offers additional credence to the understanding that free improvisation must, in boundless entities and designs, be evocative and focused to become successful. This performance engenders numerous thought-provoking persuasions; austere at times, the trio flips the coin as well, by inciting a highly entertaining gameplan.
The interweaving storylines are enacted with concentrically flowing phrases and jagged edges, amid several tender spots. Léandre and flutist Nicole Mitchell are superb foils, and drive matters into submission during choice spots. The musicians transmit an organic outlook, wondrously accented by Dylan van der Schyff's asymmetrical rhythms, polyrhythmic rolls and enterprising approach to the drum kit.
The artists mimic moods and lash out with expansive tonal splashes to complement the largely, mind-bending mini-themes that intersect, subside and assume a natural order of growth. Mitchell's twirling lines offset a quiet rumble atop Van Der Schyff's rim shots and Léandre's nimble developments on "Before Before." Mitchell also casts an edge while the bassist's lyric-less background chanting spawns a spiritual aura, as the band proclaims glee and disillusionment, which emanates into a craftily arranged paradox. With peaks, valleys, detours and vast synergy, the trio tends to pick up steam, underscored by Léandre's ominous arco passages and diffused patterns.
Charming, witty and designed with great focus and great understanding, several of these movements come across as composite avant-garde works. The program imprints a majestic perspective on mediums previously traversed by others, making it a mystical and irrefutably persuasive exhibition for the willing listener.
Track Listing: Before Before; After Before; Before After; After After.
Personnel: Joëlle Léandre: double-bass; Nicole Mitchell: flute, alto flute, piccolo;
Dylan van der Schyff: drums, percussion.
Record Label: Rogue Art
Style: Modern Jazz