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Jazz Articles


Joëlle Léandre - Urs Leimgruber - Fred Frith - Alvin Curran: Oakland/Lisboa

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Under the moniker MMM Quartet a crew from diverse points of the compass assembled for a concert at the 2014 Jazz Em Agosto in Lisboa (Lisbon, Portugal). Three of the four principals have associations with Mills College in Oakland (the MMM acronym improbably stands for Mills Music Mafia), while the Swiss saxophonist Urs Leimgruber is the solitary interloper. With constituent parts like French bassist Joëlle Léandre, English guitarist Fred Frith and veteran American pianist, composer and electronics whizz Alvin Curran, ...


Joëlle Léandre - Urs Leimgruber - Fred Frith - Alvin Curran: Oakland/Lisboa

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This multinational dream team's second album was recorded live at a venue in Lisbon, Portugal. MMM stands for Mills Music Mafia, alluding to the respective artists' tenure or residency at Mills College in Oakland, CA. As anticipated, the quartet embarks upon a course of ingenuity that would be difficult to top within global improvisational circuits. Indeed, active minds are on the loose here. They navigate through jarring pathways and even integrate off-center folk into a few choruses; whereas, ...


Leandre - Delbecq - Houle: 14 rue Paul Forte, Paris

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Leo Records' press release correlates this trio's output to “heavy artillery" music, but it's most assuredly not all about bombast or in-your-face type avant-garde improvisation. Hence, these esteemed improvisers do what they do best in front of a select audience in Paris. Bassist Joelle Léandre and Benoit Delbecq hail from France and like Canadian clarinetist Francois Houle, are among the crème de la crème of global improvisational artisans, and as anticipated, they dutifully get the job done here. The agenda ...


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 ...


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 ...


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, ...


Sudo Quartet: Live at Banlieue Bleue

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Such is the strength and conviction with which the Sudo Quartet performs that thoughts immediately turn to how they developed such a cohesive group sound. With no liners and no information on the web, the genesis of the unit remains a mystery, though the same foursome feature on four tracks on bassist Joelle Leandre's At the Le Mans Jazz Festival (Leo, 2005). But when uniting four virtuoso stylists from the European free improvisation scene, it's a near certainty that their ...


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 ...

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