All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
The first collaboration between prolific French double bass and free-improvisation master Joëlle Léandre and fellow countryman, guitarist Serge Teyssot-Gayfounder of French progressive bands Noir Désir and Interzone, and affiliated with the experimental and more arty side rockmay 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 offer cinematic and dramatic narratives, even surprisingly lyrical ones as the fifth improvisation,"4.29," while others are elaborate, physical and timbral searches, such as the longer and more minimal "10.11." Both Léandre and Teyssot-Gay are masters of extended techniques, and their immediate instincts contribute to this duet's rich musical language. Teyssot-Gay opts for intricate, atmospheric sound-worlds that serve as the basis for Léandre's more turbulent improvisations, mainly when she adds her operatic voice in a free flow of theatrical, onomatopoeic vocal associations on "6.33" and "7.42." The use of Léandre's voice stresses her humor, feeling of revolt and resistant stand against any and all artistic categorization. Only the short "2.54" develops as a real free improvisation that pushes the sonic boundaries of these two gifted musicians and confirms the true dialogue between them.
True music, as found on this set of improvisations, does not easily lend itself to convention or genre, but its validity is beyond doubt.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.