Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

192

Joelle Leandre / India Cooke: Journey

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: Journey | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

3rd Variation for Clarinet and Contrabass

3rd Variation for Clarinet and Contrabass

Joëlle Léandre
That Overt Desire of Object

Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Year in Review
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Read more articles
A Woman's Work...

A Woman's Work...

Not Two Records
2017

buy
Unleashed

Unleashed

Rogue Art
2017

buy
Hasparren

Hasparren

NoBusiness Records
2014

buy
Sisters Where

Sisters Where

Rogueart Records
2014

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Nov15Fri
JOELLE LEANDRE
Centre For Fine Arts - Bozar
Brussels, Belgium

Related Articles

Read LE10 18-05 Album Reviews
LE10 18-05
By Karl Ackermann
May 20, 2019
Read Remembering Miles Album Reviews
Remembering Miles
By Dan McClenaghan
May 20, 2019
Read Merry Peers Album Reviews
Merry Peers
By Bruce Lindsay
May 20, 2019
Read Music! Music! Music! Album Reviews
Music! Music! Music!
By Doug Collette
May 20, 2019
Read Sheer Reckless Abandon Album Reviews
Sheer Reckless Abandon
By John Kelman
May 19, 2019
Read Gratitude: Stage Door Live @ the Z Album Reviews
Gratitude: Stage Door Live @ the Z
By Jack Bowers
May 19, 2019
Read To My Brothers Album Reviews
To My Brothers
By Victor L. Schermer
May 19, 2019