In the sport of Boxing they often say that styles make fights. Two superb boxers in the same ring can either lull you to sleep or provide fierce competition. Analogies of this nature bring to mind the new CD by the duo of double bassist Joelle Leandre and free-jazz pioneer Derek Bailey. “No Waiting” is a new release and features 5 jointly composed pieces all baring the same title.
Leandre and Bailey are gifted musicians. Their legacies are well documented and indisputable; however, the interaction throughout this recording at times conveys a sense of stagnancy and sterility. Technically they are in rare form but the emotional and communicative components seem somewhat stale by comparison. Leandre frequently attacks the double bass displaying ferocious technique and wit while Bailey performs skillfully as one would expect. One of the drawbacks may be the extensive similarities of execution between the two performers. Instead of counterbalancing one another the feeling is that of emulating each other’s motifs, statements and articulations. Skillful yes, but at times uninteresting and tedious. This recording is a testament to technical virtuosity but seems remiss in the “cooperative deliberation department”. There are several moments of alluring dialogue; however, the sum of the parts radiate sentiments of uncertainty or perhaps lack of clear concepts or goals. Overall, the performances are crafty and Bailey utilizes his extensive arsenal but this recording doesn’t hold up against his recent collaborations with the likes of Henry Kaiser, The Ruins and “The Ninj” for innovation and/or interest. Otherwise, “No Waiting” holds its own for marvelous improvising and sheer technical accomplishment. A less than perfect outing by musicians of this caliber is still miles ahead of what others are doing in modern music.