Red Toucan Records 2002
Download, Part One
Download, Part Two
Bonus Post 2. Whilst I have a few free moments, I might as well try and keep up my May post count and raise it to the grand total of 3. Superb set of duets from Joëlle Léandre joined by Masahiko Satoh for the first set and Yuji Takahashi for the second, both on piano. Leandre for those who have never experienced the virtuosity of her bass playing is one of the lesser-known figures on the free improv circuit, but to my mind certainly one of the best. But having said that, Léandre also has a strong background in classical music and working with contemporary classical composers, such as, Boulez, Cage and Scelsi so her credentials are certainly impressive. The pieces here are a great introduction to her talents, ranging from haunting Ligeti-esque chamber pieces to lively Bartók-esque folk dances.
There is a strong echo of Japanese mysticism in the music as on certain occasions where Léandre’s lightness of touch is delicately balanced by Satoh’s sprinkling of Takemitsu-esque notes, carefully woven into a meditative like trance. Her set with Takahashi is more severe than Satoh’s; the spaces are wider apart, the notes are sparser, that sense of spiritual emptiness is perhaps greater, but it also reminds me of recent avant-garde European music – the likes of Salvatore Sciarrino – itself deeply routed in atonality expressed by composers from Schoenberg through to Scelsi. But tradition aside, the strength of this album comes from the brilliance of the playing, faultless, expressive, rich.