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Tiger Trio: Unleashed

Read "Unleashed" reviewed by John Sharpe

Three leading exponents of their instruments unite on Unleashed. Since their first collaboration in Vancouver in 2009, French bassist Joëlle Léandre and American flutist Nicole Mitchell have enjoyed a simpatico outlook, as evidenced by a clutch of Rogue Art releases including Before After (2011) and Sisters Where (2014), as well as Flowing Stream (Leo, 2014). Joining them on this occasion, pianist Myra Melford fully buys in to the freewheeling collective approach aired in a Paris gallery in early 2016.

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Joëlle Léandre: A Woman's Work...

Read "A Woman's Work..." reviewed by Mark Corroto

How do you sum up the career of an improvising artist like Joëlle Léandre? Do you reissue a package of recordings from her 40 years of performance? That is probably not possible, given the multiple labels and the location and ownership of the masters. Besides, free improvisation, almost by definition, dissipates (or probably should dissipate) upon performance. Recordings contain only a fraction of the whole experience. When it comes to Léandre's oeuvre, total immersion in her music is the only ...

YEAR IN REVIEW

Hrayr Attarian's Best Releases of 2016

Read "Hrayr Attarian's Best Releases of 2016" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Many other writers have submitted superb Best of/End of year lists, so another similar one would be redundant. As women instrumentalists in jazz have been historically underrepresented to great degree and remain a minority even today, below is a list with a feminist bent. These 12 exquisite albums are either by women or prominently feature women. An example of the latter is cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum's Enter the Plustet that showcases, among other masterful improvisers, guitarist Mary Halvorson, cellist Tomeka ...

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

Read "Oakland/Lisboa" reviewed by John Sharpe

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, ...

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

Read "Oakland/Lisboa" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

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, ...

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

Read "14 rue Paul Forte, Paris" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

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 ...

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Daunik Lazro / Joelle Leandre: Hasparren

Read "Hasparren" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

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 ...

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Sudo Quartet: Live at Banlieue Bleue

Read "Live at Banlieue Bleue" reviewed by John Sharpe

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 ...

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Joelle Leandre & Jerome Bourdellon: Evidence

Read "Evidence" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

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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Joelle Leandre / Serge Teyssot-Gay: Trans

Read "Trans" reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni

The first collaboration between prolific French double bass and free-improvisation master Joëlle Léandre and fellow countryman, guitarist Serge Teyssot-Gay--founder of French progressive bands Noir Désir and Interzone, and affiliated with the experimental and more arty side rock--may not seem a natural fit. But this live recording from a benefit concert for the Point Ephémère magazine demonstrates that the two share a lot in common. Léandre and Teyssot-Gay weave patiently, carefully built and multilayered textures. Often these textures ...

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Joelle Leandre / Phillip Greenlief: That Overt Desire Of Object

Read "That Overt Desire Of Object" reviewed by Mark Redlefsen

Contrabassist Joëlle Léandre and West Coast woodwind player Phillip Greenlief work out 11 different compositions between their two respective instruments and voices on That Overt Desire of Object. The flexibility and space that each provides the other seems to be reflected in the line note comments about the negative effects of greed. The title is a variation of the Luis Buñuel movie That Obscure Object of Desire (1977), with a playing field that appears a bit more level when compared ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Joëlle Léandre: Live at the Ulrichsberg Kaleidophon

Read "Live at the Ulrichsberg Kaleidophon" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Few modern era instrumentalists sojourn into uncharted regions of the musical cosmos with the ingenuity of bassist extraordinaire Joëlle Léandre. Supported by her vast discography as a leader and co-conspirator, Léandre's serious intentions are differentiated by a sincere vision and jubilant demeanor. These attributes repeatedly surface on her recordings. This release is a two-CD gala that presents stark contrasts, given the tentet and trio groupings. Recorded live in Austria on successive dates, the respective programs convey more emotive aspects and ...


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