Steve Lacy / Joelle Leandre: One More Time (2006)

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Steve Lacy / Joelle Leandre: One More Time
By Ken Waxman

One More Time features French bassist Joëlle Léandre bonding musically with Steve Lacy. Recorded in Brussels during one of the longtime expatriate's farewell to Europe concerts before he relocated to Boston, One More Time is poignant, especially after you hear Lacy's complimentary telephone message to Léandre that is its final track. The CD is doubly valuable because it's one of the saxman's final documents before his death in 2004. But after a half-century as an improviser, Lacy was no sentimentalist. He praises the duo work because he knows how good it is.

Ricocheting between broken octaves and double counterpoint, the two musicians finesse a collection of repeated notes, slurs, squirming vibrations, trills and slides. When he modulates towards coloratura, she stands her ground with staccato sweeps. Should he sideslip and flutter-tongue, she retorts with sul tasto patterning and by striking the bass' ribs and belly. Following a few duck-like quacks, he fades into the background at midpoint, allowing her to use tremolo multiphonics to involve all her strings in steady architectural motions.

Returning to the fray, tooting and triple-tonguing, the reedist's tongue stops and trills are backed with sul tasto bowing that creates extra textural graininess. Eventually his falsetto cries bring forth sul ponticello stopping from her lowest strings, as the two finally resolve the piece with a simultaneous climax. Although Léandre will never play with Lacy again, at least we have One More Time to remember their classy teamwork.

Track Listing: One More Time 1; 2; 3; Phone message.

Personnel: Steve Lacy: soprano saxophone; Jolle Landre: bass.

Record Label: Leo Records

Style: Modern Jazz

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