5

Daunik Lazro / Joëlle Léandre: Hasparren

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Daunik Lazro / Joëlle Léandre: Hasparren Whether one rates a free improv album or not can be notoriously subjective, depending as much on the listener's mood as any musical attribute. So when a recital comes along by two of France's most adventurous musicians where everything seems to just click, it's worth teasing out what makes it such a success. Let's be clear, it's not background music. To get the most from it requires some concentration. Perhaps headphones. That way the near perfect interaction between Daunik Lazro's supple baritone saxophone and Joelle Leandre's virtuoso bass fizzes between the ears, sparking synapses as it goes.

It helps that they share such an extensive history, meaning that they are well aware of each other's capabilities, and perform accordingly. Their first documented meeting was in 1983 on the reedman's Sweet Zee (Hat Art, 2010), with a series of further encounters over the intervening years. However Hasparren is their first recording just as a duo. Being so well established on the European scene, neither feels the need to flaunt their undoubted chops. In fact Lazro's sustained phrases on the opening cut are a stunningly simple but nonetheless effective foil for Léandre's fluent sawing.

Though there is a clear lower register affinity between the two instrumentalists, both are so adept at stretching the putative ranges of their instruments that there's no need to worry about a narrow sound spectrum. Of course each demonstrates peerless control. Lazro's split tones and dog-bothering whistles at the start of "Hasparren IV" are artfully restrained yet edgy, while Léandre 's extended technique remains as marvellous as ever. Their choices of how closely to follow and when to oppose have a feel of inevitability.

As befits experienced improvisers both possess an innate sense of how to structure on the fly. Léandre does so most obviously on the unaccompanied "Hasparren V" where a bow bouncing introductory figure recurs as a motif throughout the piece, contrasting with an expressive sequence of slurred notes and singing lines exploiting the bass' harmonics, before ushering in the poised final reiteration. Spontaneous allusions to melody and rhythm surface periodically, hinting at links to wider traditions. In the end it's all about intense listening and apparently effortless communication between two distinctive individual voices which combine to convey tremendous emotional depth.


Track Listing: Hasparren I; Hasparren II; Hasparren III; Hasparren IV; Hasparren V; Hasparren VI.

Personnel: Daunik Lazro: baritone saxophone; Joëlle Léandre: double bass, voice.

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "HUJE 2015" CD/LP/Track Review HUJE 2015
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 2, 2016
Read "Shipwreck 4" CD/LP/Track Review Shipwreck 4
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 13, 2016
Read "Kucheza" CD/LP/Track Review Kucheza
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: January 1, 2017
Read "Hawniyaz" CD/LP/Track Review Hawniyaz
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 1, 2016
Read "Super Petite" CD/LP/Track Review Super Petite
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 12, 2016
Read "A Kenton Celebration" CD/LP/Track Review A Kenton Celebration
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!