192

Joelle Leandre / India Cooke: Journey

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Joelle Leandre / India Cooke: Journey 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 the violinist's 1996 debut, Red Handed (Music and Arts), but they have played together several times since, including a set at the 2004 Guelph Festival, documented as Firedance (Red Toucan, 2005), and performances, the following year, at France's Le Mans Festival and New York City's Vision Festival.

Happily, the academic environment has not rubbed off on either performer. Over the course of 43 minutes, the two women demonstrate deep listening and stratospheric instrumental chops on seven spontaneously improvised pieces, including a solo feature for each. While beholden to no genre, they fleetingly touch and merge contemporary chamber music atonality, jazz propulsion and classical melody. Virtuoso playing is put to the service of storytelling, as the two strings spiral in intertwining inspiration. Léandre's deeply resonant tone encompasses both bowing and picking, with a litany of scrapes, creaks and strums. Cooke's violin soars and swoops, but she also scrubs and taps, as she seeks to find the right sound.

"Journey I" begins with Cooke tapping her bow on the body of her violin, as the bassist deploys a six-note figure, which becomes a recurrent motif and the backbone for the intense but simpatico improvisation. Léandre's unaccompanied "Journey III" is a tour de force, culminating in a contrapuntal triumvirate of droning arco, rhythmic bass slapping and vocal exclamations. Cooke's singing legato on her own "Journey V," with its trace of country blues, simultaneously evokes yearning and joy. Twin vocal incantations (the bassist intoning Cooke's name) begin the closing "Journey VI," before the duo picks up its instruments, but there is otherwise little evidence of the theatricality which can sometimes be found disconcerting. In spite of a slightly distant recording suggesting the ambience of a large hall, this responsive twosome's Journey makes for a compelling listen.

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

Personnel: Joëlle Léandre: bass; India Cooke: violin.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Wrong is Right" CD/LP/Track Review Wrong is Right
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: June 4, 2016
Read "R Train On The D Line" CD/LP/Track Review R Train On The D Line
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "Lingo" CD/LP/Track Review Lingo
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "Choice" CD/LP/Track Review Choice
by Dave Wayne
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "In Denmark 1959-1960" CD/LP/Track Review In Denmark 1959-1960
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 7, 2016
Read "East West Daydreams" CD/LP/Track Review East West Daydreams
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 9, 2017

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!