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Monday, July 7, 2014

Joëlle Léandre & Pascal Contet - 3 (Ayler, 2014) ****½

By Stef

In 1994 French artists Joëlle Léandre and Pascal Contet recorded their first album, then some ten years ago they released their second album (on Clean Feed), and now, twenty years after their initial collaboration, the third album is released.

If you have any idea of what a duo between a double bass and an accordion sounds like, think again ... and listen. Both musicians know their instruments and their possibilities to perfection, so much so, that it allows them to create a sonic universe of tight, fragile and lyrical interaction, sometimes joyful, with folk elements intervening, sometimes dramatic, with classical gravity, sometimes free as the wind, with European improv influences, and more often than not a combination of moods and influences, full of paradoxes and tension that keep the listener's ears glued to the sound, enjoying the precision, the sensitivities, the beauty of sounds, the possibilities of the instruments, the possibilities of the interaction, the surprises that come up all the time, especially in the atmosphere that is subdued and calm, with some wildness in between, for contrast, with deep emotional power both in the quiet and more voluminous parts, with two musicians whose ears and minds are also as one to the music and its possibilities, listening and creating instantaneously, and if for lesser musicians this may sound like a recipe for chaos, in the hand of masters this turns into magic, the magic of creating an atmosphere that is alien and deeply familiar, of mystery and comfort.


Available from Instantjazz.

For those of you who read French, I can also recommend this review  from Citizenjazz by Franpi Barriaux.