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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joelle Leandre / Nicole Mitchell: Sisters Where

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Sisters Where forms another installment in the fertile collaboration between French bassist Joëlle Léandre and American flutist Nicole Mitchell, following on from Before After (Rogue Art, 2011) and Flowing Stream (Leo Records, 2014). One enduring feature of the pairing is the attractive opposition of high and low ends represented by their respective axes, although of course Léandre can effortlessly traverse that divide with her virtuosic bow handling. What further helps make the session work so well is that each includes a healthy dose of lyricism in their discourse, alongside more extended techniques. But it is their sense of improvisatory fun ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Daunik Lazro / Joelle Leandre: Hasparren

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This outing signifies the fifth recording and sole duo pairing by these consummate improvisers, spanning several decades. Recorded at a cultural center in Hasparren, France, the musicians explore the lower register with a profusion of prismatic contrasts as they interrogate and expand upon numerous schematics that at times, seem uncannily composed or sketched out prior to their summit. Of course, the album is totally improvised and the artists' striking intuitiveness is not surprising. The duo engages in whispery and intimately crafted storylines, established by Joelle Leandre's gentle arco- lines and baritone saxophonist Daunik Lazro's softly woven ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Dalachinsky / Joelle Leandre: The Bill Has Been Paid

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The verbal-musical match between American beat poet Steve Dalachinsky, who describes himself as one that was born “right after the last big war and managed to survive lots of little wars," and French double master Joëlle Léandre is unique and untimely. Dalachinsky's poetry focuses on his musical experiences and meditations on musicians--as a spectator or collaborator, or as an active player in a musical scene (for example with Matthew Shipp or Charles Gayle)--ones that transform him into a more conscious, compassionate person.Léandre has written poetry and collaborated with poets, amongst many other interdisciplinary artists, since the beginning of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joelle Leandre & Jerome Bourdellon: Evidence

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Bass and flute represent significant tonal contrasts and here, flutist Jerome Bourdellon and world-renowned bassist, composer and improviser Joelle Leandre divulge innumerable perspectives and quite a bit of food for thought on these duets. However, Bourdellon employs bass clarinet and bass flute on two tracks, as no other instruments are nestled into the mid-sections of the program and the artists follow similar modalities to complement and support each other. Each piece presents a different viewpoint, largely immersed in call and response mechanisms that incite additional mini-themes and an aggregation of twirling excursions or impressionistic counter-maneuvers. These facets shine ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joelle Leandre / Serge Teyssot-Gay: Trans

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The first collaboration between prolific French double bass and free-improvisation master Joëlle Léandre and fellow countryman, guitarist Serge Teyssot-Gay--founder of French progressive bands Noir Désir and Interzone, and affiliated with the experimental and more arty side rock--may not seem a natural fit. But this live recording from a benefit concert for the Point Ephémère magazine demonstrates that the two share a lot in common. Léandre and Teyssot-Gay weave patiently, carefully built and multilayered textures. Often these textures offer cinematic and dramatic narratives, even surprisingly lyrical ones as the fifth improvisation,"4.29," while others are elaborate, physical and timbral ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joelle Leandre / Phillip Greenlief: That Overt Desire Of Object

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Contrabassist Joëlle Léandre and West Coast woodwind player Phillip Greenlief work out 11 different compositions between their two respective instruments and voices on That Overt Desire of Object. The flexibility and space that each provides the other seems to be reflected in the line note comments about the negative effects of greed. The title is a variation of the Luis Buñuel movie That Obscure Object of Desire (1977), with a playing field that appears a bit more level when compared to the bassist's 2009 duo with Anthony Braxton, Duo (Heidelberg Loppem) 2007 (Leo Records, 2009).Each set of variations ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joelle Leandre Tentet & Trio: Can You Hear Me?

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It is quite rare to find recordings of composed works by French double-bassist Joëlle Léandre. Léandre has gained a justified reputation as an innovative virtuoso of the double-bass, a masterful free improviser, and as an imaginative collaborator, mostly in small, intimate outfits. This double-disc set, with its first half featuring Léandre's composed work for a tentet, is one of the treats that Léandre is releasing to celebrate her upcoming 60th birthday. This recording was captured on two consecutive nights at the 2009 Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon festival, in Austria. Léandre dedicated her composed piece, “Can You Hear Me?," to her ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joelle Leandre / India Cooke: Journey

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Joëlle Léandre's name on the sleeve guarantees invention and passion. Over the years, the French improvising bassist has made the duet format one of her prime modes of expression, pairing, in recent years, with George Lewis and Jean-Luc Capozzo on just two recent examples from a discography now more than 150 strong. Further swelling the ranks, this live date from the 2008 Conference of the International Society for Improvised Music matches Léandre with Bay Area violinist India Cooke. A lecturer at Mills College in Oakland, Cooke's appearances on disc have been more parsimonious. The duo's association predates ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Joelle Leandre: Last Seen Headed (Live at Sons D’Hiver); Trace & Duo (Heidelberg Loppem) 2007

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Joëlle Léandre/François Houle/Raymond StridLast Seen Headed (Live at Sons D'Hiver) Ayler2010 Joëlle Léandre/Maguelone Vidal/Raymond BoniTraceRed Toucan2009 Anthony Braxton/Joëlle LéandreDuo (Heidelberg Loppem) 2007 Leo2009 Bassist Joëlle Léandre is a quintessential representative of the connection between free improvisation and European classical music. The early stages of her career are noteworthy for her close associations with composers Giacinto Scelsi, Pierre Boulez and John Cage, though over the last 20 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anthony Braxton / Joelle Leandre: Duo (Heidelberg Loppem) 2007

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Two masters of improvisation and innovation realign for a series of three duet pieces, spanning two discs, captured live at the Heidelberg Cafe in Belgium. Pulling out the proverbial stops as contrasts abound, Anthony Braxton switch-hits on reeds while bassist Joëlle Léandre delivers contrapuntal responses amid the duo's role-reversal undertakings.

It would normally equate to a challenge, specifically in these rather adventurous improv settings, but it's a continual and rather swerving plot, defined by Braxton and Léandre's serrated phrasings. They impart a confederacy of contrasts, teeming with the customary peaks, valleys and points of no return. Here, lyricism ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joelle Leandre / Maguelone Vidal / Raymond Boni: trace

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Improvised music is created on the spur of the moment, the players looking for the common thread from which they can go in different directions as they spin their story. The logic of continuity is integral, even if they build it in pieces that may at first seem incongruent. Bassist/vocalist Joëlle Léandre, saxophonist/vocalist Maguelone Vidal and guitarist Raymond Boni blend their instruments and imaginations, delving into the unusual and fathoming the unexpected. The end result is fascinating.

Léandre has a large body of recorded work, a testament to her ability to see beyond boundaries. The seed for this ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Joelle Leandre: Duos with William Parker and George Lewis

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French double bassist Joelle Leandre needs no introduction. She has gained a legendary status as one of the best free improvisors of recent decades, always ready for new challenges and opportunities to perfect her art. These two arresting recordings, both totally improvised, with close comrades double bassist William Parker and trombone player George Lewis, offer two different angles on such well-fulfilled opportunities.

Joelle Leandre & William Parker Live At Dunois Leo Records 2009

Since their first recorded duo collaboration, Contrabasses (Leo, 1998), 11 years ago, Leandre and Parker have trodden different but often close ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joelle Leandre / George Lewis: Transatlantic Visions

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Forged in the un-air-conditioned furnace that was the 2008 Vision Festival, this set of improvised duets for trombone and bass nonetheless retains the feel of an overheard intimate conversation between two old friends. Perhaps it should, for trombonist George Lewis and French bassist extraordinaire Jolle Léandre share a long history of joint appearances and recordings dating back to at least 1983, when they collaborated in an improvising collective with Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer.

A vocal metaphor is especially apt for this particular duo. Using a bow or mutes to bend the notes, the inflections, murmurs, exhortations and mumbles each draws ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joelle Leandre / George Lewis: Transatlantic Visions

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Recorded at Vision Festival XIII in 2008, this pairing of French bassist Joelle Léandre and American trombonist George Lewis brings together two of the most gifted and committed musicians in improvised music. They've been acquainted since the '70s and distinguished themselves as duo improvisers in the best company. (Among their individual highlights are the former's duets with Derek Bailey and Steve Lacy and the latter's with Anthony Braxton and Evan Parker). The intense commitment with which they attack the format is evident from the opening seconds of the performance, Lewis exploding with rapid-fire, strongly rhythmic phrases and ...



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