Conservatory-trained and prize-winning bassist/improviser Joëlle Léandre has aligned herself with new music advocates such as Anthony Braxton and Morton Feldman, among others. So it should be of little surprise that the esteemed bassist would extend her wares a bit by connecting with koto performer Kazue Sawai for a set brimming with minimalist themes and impassioned improv.
The koto is a Japanese musical instrument that can have anywhere between 1 and 17 strings extended over a four-sided box. Sawai is a well-known master, having formed the Tokyo-based Sawai Koto School. Here, two world-class yet altogether disparate instrumentalists investigate various modalities via instances of implied meter, along with various strumming and plucking techniques. On track two (no song titles), the musicians tap their respective instruments in concert with swirling exchanges and wordless chants. At times, the music seems to take on sacred implications. The artists' somewhat ethnocentrically devised permutations hint at two foreign languages coalescing for an evocative union. With this release, east meets west as the duo tosses notions back and forth amid complex fabrics of sound. Recommended. (Listener patience and open mindedness is a prerequisite here!)
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.