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Joëlle Léandre

French double bass player, improviser and composer, Joëlle Léandre is one of the dominant figures of the new European music. Trained in orchestral as well as contemporary music, she has played with l’Itinéraire, 2e2m and Pierre Boulez’s Ensemble Intercontemporain. Joëlle Léandre has also worked with Merce Cunningham and with John Cage, who has composed especially for her – as have Scelsi, Fénelon, Hersant, Lacy, Campana, Jolas, Clementi and about 40 composers.

As well as working in contemporary music, Léandre has played with some of the great names in jazz and improvisation, such as Derek Bailey, Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, Evan Parker, Irene Schweizer, William Parker, Barre Phillips, Pascal Contet, Steve Lacy, Lauren Newton, Peter Kowald, Urs Leimgruber, Mat Maneri, Roy Campbell, Fred Frith, John Zorn, Mark Naussef, Marilyn Crispell, India Cooke and so many others…

She has written extensively for dance and theater, and has staged a number of multidisciplinary performances. She got the DAAD at Berlin, is welcomed as artist resident at Villa Kujiyama (Kyoto). In 2002, 2004 and 2006, she is Visiting Professor at Mills college, Oakland, CA, Chaire Darius Milhaud, for improvisation and composition. Her work as a composer and a performer, both in solo recitals and a part of ensembles, has put her under the lights of the most prestigious stages of Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Featured releases

Super happy to have dug this out of the archives - the final night of the great French double bass player, improviser and composer, Joëlle Léandre's 2015 residency. Léandre was joined by Scottish improvising vocalist and dancer, Maggie Nicols, and drummer Roger Turner for both nights, and the second of the two saw sparks fly. Solo, Léandre is formidible - melodious, angry, rousing. Her voice breaks through the bass like McPhee's through a trumpet - there's joy, there's humour, and it's 100% intense. Léandre and Nicols have a long history together - 1982's Live at The Bastille with Lyndsey Cooper still stands strong - and their trio with Irène Schweizer as 'Les Diaboliques' is totally unique. Here, both performers are totally at home with with each other and with their sounds - there's depth, unpredictability, intensity and delirious humour. A treasure to share all five pieces, and we hope for another Léandre residency some day soon!  “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.” – The Free Jazz Collective --- Joëlle Léandre / double bass, vocals  Maggie Nichols / vocals Roger Turner / percussion --- Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Wednesday 18th March, 2015 by Mark Jasper. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Photo by the wonderful Dawid Laskowski. 

Leandre / Nicols / Turner – 18.3.15

"It is as though I've known, seen, heard Steve forever with his groups, projects, and his music! It is an honour for me to see this recording released. Steve loved this duo! Improvising with Steve was always an adventure. The music was simply there, immediate, full of play and emotioins, surprises, joy, and paradoxically, full of control and freedom! "Just make music and follow it," - as Steve said so well. I would like to dedecate this to Irene Aebi, his lifelong companion and beautiful musician. Hey Steve, so long, we miss you so much!" - Joëlle Léandre  "This recording documents a live meeting of two of the strongest and most radically different improvisers in the world. The pairing of the convolutedly logical and ironic Lacy and the aggressive and passionate Leandre stands as one of the best examples of the ability of conscientious artists to meet and create great music. Check the first track where Lacy’s restrained yet harmonically probing architecture joins in a stately waltz with a neo-classical bowed response from Leandre. Track two features water buffalo groans and African wood trumpet sounds from a decidedly atypical Lacy, which seems to spark the musical equivalent of raised eyebrows and laughter from Leandre. Track three starts with Lacy chanting "one more time” with Leandre joining in a extemporaneous rant in French before they get to their instruments in a seamless finale. Track four is the most poignant of all; it’s a minute long phone message from Steve Lacy in French expressing his joy at the performance and his affection for Leandre (he passed away two years later fromliver cancer). This last track, for me, makes this CD a beautiful and touching tribute to one of the icons of music, the Satie of Jazz, Steve Lacy." - Nilnan Perera --- Steve Lacy / saxophone Joëlle Léandre / double bass --- Recorded live at Cafe Belga, 28th July 2002. This concert was part of Lacy's farewell tour of Europe before he went back to the USA in 2002. The concert was organised by Cedric D'hondt/ Champauditif. Recorded and mastered at Odeon Mobile Unit studio. The last track is a phone message left on Léandre's answering machine by Lacy, expressing his wish for this performance to be released.

Steve Lacy And Joëlle Léandre – One More TIme

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