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Monday, July 18, 2011

Joëlle Léandre - Solo (Kadima, 2011) *****

By Stef

Good news for those non-French-speaking music lovers who can now get access to the translation of "A Voix Basse", the biography of Joëlle Léandre, written by Franck Médioni, and translated by Jeffrey Grice. I will not review the book again. It is worth reading. There aren't that many books about modern music, let alone books that are so honest and frank.

What I will talk about are the CD and DVD with solo performances that accompany the book in a nice package published by the Kadima Collective of this other bass player, JC Jones. The CD offers a little over thirty-eight minutes of a performance given at Piednu, France in 2008. The DVD was performed in September 2009 at the Guelph festival in Canada, and clocks a little over thirty-three minutes.

I can recommend the whole package, easily, wholeheartedly.

I cannot describe the music.

I can describe the artist, although I know her only from her music ... and a quick hello after a concert. A true, real artist. Stubborn. Visionary. Uncompromising. Intense. Tender and poetic at moments, raw and angry with the world at other times. She is unconcerned by style, and definitely stays far away from stylistic and formal mannerisms that are needed to placcate the reviewers and the hip audiences. She integrates music as music, and delivers it as music, using elements from tribal rituals over classical finesse to jazz expressionism and avant-garde search for new approaches, yet turning it all into something else, something more authentic, more innovative and - interestingly enough - also more universal. 

She cares about the interaction with other musicians who have a story to tell, whom she can learn from, who can lift her up to a different level, on new journeys, open to musical adventures, but who also likes sharing, in warmth, in inventiveness, in sounds, ....

Yet solo is quite a different experience. And it is surely not her first use of the concept, with albums such as  "No Comment", "Sincerely", "Solo Bass, Live At Otis, Hiroshima", "Concerto Grosso", "Taxi", "Contrebasse Et Voix" preceding this one. And both the CD and the DVD are a delight : balanced, varying between piercing bowed intensity, angry grunts and growls ... and softer plucked pieces sometimes with soft chanting ... but all played with incredible passion for the music, for the beauty of sound, for the surprises that come out of the instrument, that are made to come out of the instrument.

I can describe the music. It is Real. Art. Visionary. Uncompromising. Intense. Tender and poetic. Raw and angry.

Captivating from beginning to end.

Don't miss it. 

Buy from Instantjazz.

Here is the promo video :

© stef


Anonymous said...

Loved your way to describe Joelle Léandre.
My first free/avant jazz CD has been Léandre & Lewis "Transatlantic Visions". And it made my story.
Thank you for your sensibility,
Stefano Perrachon Ferrando

Yannis Livadas said...

Thanx a lot. That is great.