RT 9337 (2009)
Joëlle Léandre: double bass and voice
1. ada (4:28)
All music composed live by
Recorded live at the
Centre Chorégraphique National
Touching Extremes - Massimo Ricci
An implicitly appealing album from a trio in which the voices of the strings (Léandre’s double bass and Boni’s guitar) fight against – but also embrace – a fairly original lingo by saxophonist Vidal, whom I’d never met prior to this outing. The latter employs soprano and baritone in a somewhat novel way, choosing to alternate gratification, sufferance and something in between. Sporadically, the voice is mingled within the reed’s quivering, or a water bowl is exploited to generate sensations that range from suggestions of a big harmonica to the gargle of a drowning woman (truth be told, even the “regular” timbres do not resemble anyone else’s). Though the press release describes this sort of playing as occasionally boisterous, you could safely say that Vidal is a sagacious performer, capable of delineating a precise region that connects “indispensable talking” with “prudent shutting up”. This joint interface is characterized by moments in which someone plays and the others just watch and take note, before joining in with bright intuitions and a few tricks of their own. Léandre is less thunderous and snarling than usual, apparently more interested in an accurate search of spots for her contributions, either adroitly plucked or regally arcoed; still, she manages to insert some classic rambling in the final “De Mon Enf…”. Boni makes use of many of the acoustic, electric and processed qualities of the guitar, shifting from atonal strumming to phases in which the sound is benevolently chaotic, avoiding panegyrics yet remaining in the not-exactly-reticent area of interplay. The stimulating whole captures our interest over the course of reiterated spins, firm concentration a must.
Free Jazz (Stef)
Of the three French musicians, Vidal is possibly the lesser known, although she has already made her name as the "l'agitée du saxophone" (the agitated one on the saxophone), although her playing is quite controlled and measured, even if it is quite exploratory. Boni is possibly the musician with the most recognizable style, playing constantly in otherworldly regions, using his pedals and effects and extended techniques, resulting in harsh, raw and uncanny sounds (and I often wondered what this album would have sounded like without Boni). Vidal manages well to keep up with him, showing maturity, vision and creativity. The best parts are when Vidal and Léandre play together, as "Cumuls", on which the agitated one blows some moments under water, a fun digression from music that takes itself sometimes a little too seriously. True, Boni's style is an acquired taste, and his electric voice is a little too determining in the overall sound, except when he actually contributes to it, as on "Gros Dilemme", the highlight of the album. Despite that, Vidal is a new voice to be reckoned with, and a promising one for that matter. Léandre, as might expected, feels herself in these abstract, rebellious and often nightmarish pieces like a fish in water.
Downtown Music Gallery
Now we have a fine trio offering with French guitarist Raymond Boni who has worked with Joe McPhee, Daunik Lazro and Andre Jaume and Maguelone Vidal, with whom I was not previously familiar.
This disc was recorded live at Centre Choregraphique National de Montpellier in Languedoc-Roussillon in France in January of 2008. Mr. Boni has a unique sound on guitar, somewhere beyond jazz and rock. For "Joseph et Joseph" he tosses off a variety of noisy phrases which are answered intricately by Ms. Vidal's soprano sax. Ms. Leandre's bowing is also quite distinctive and intense. On "La Passe" she will start one idea which is completed tightly by Maguelone's bari sax. Although there are a few spirited duo sections, it is the three way conversations that work best at exchanging fascinating ideas. There are moments when the improvisations bristle with energy and moments when the suspense has that edge-of-your-seat intrigue, as well as bit of vocal adventurousness. Certainly this disc is more interesting and more uplifting than the daily news, so why not tune in and be carried away.
Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
All About Jazz - Jerry D'Souza
Improvised music is created on the spur of the moment, the players looking for the common thread from which they can go in different directions as they spin their story. The logic of continuity is integral, even if they build it in pieces that may at first seem incongruent. Bassist/vocalist Joëlle Léandre, saxophonist/vocalist Maguelone Vidal and guitarist Raymond Boni blend their instruments and imaginations, delving into the unusual and fathoming the unexpected. The end result is fascinating.
Léandre has a large body of recorded work, a testament to her ability to see beyond boundaries. The seed for this was planted when she listened to and was influenced by
Derek Bailey, Anthony Braxtonand George Lewis, but it's her own germane sense of invention that has made her a dynamic staple of improvised music.Boni first studied piano and then harmonica before taking to the guitar, where he learned his craft from Gypsies. Django Reinhardtcreated an impression but so, too, did Cecil Taylor. Boni's wide interests have placed him in a comfort zone in a wide array of styles over the years and he finds it once more on this recording.Vidal who is also active on the French scene has performed in trio settings with singer Dalila Khatir and bassist Amanda Gardon. The underlying force is improvisation and experiment, and Vidal is adept at both. Recorded live, this CD provides the ideal setting for the trio. The acuity is instant as they fuse several shades into the music. Interaction is key but so are long lines of melody, fragments that jump and shard, careening lines and cool guitar chords. It all works together superbly. "le passe" has Léandre bowing a broad spectrum of phrases, changing the intensity and the thrust, adding drone while keeping the mood constantly compelling. Vidal stretches phrases, breathes heavily for added brassiness, a voice crying out loud against percussive taps and glissandi until it all rises into an explosive swell. "tube," on the other hand, kicks into high gear with voice, sax and bass. Words fall in a maze of sound complemented by the saxophone whooshing eerily. And just before silence drops its veil, the guitar counts down the final moments in a short but compellingly well-spun idea.
The three artists fuse melody, atonality and cohesion particularly well on the sweltering "gros dilemme." Stirred by the fire in their souls, the momentum is tensile, the thrust constant and the pulse pliant. Léandre, Vidal and Boni spin their tales with an insight that nails the attention.
All About Jazz - Wilbur MacKenzie
Trace features Léandre in a trio with saxophonist Maguelone Vidal and guitarist Raymond Boni. Boni's background is steeped in both the Gypsy tradition and in free improvisation, with a style that suggests both
Django Reinhardtand Derek Bailey. In general, the record is quite spacious, in that there are many extended solo and duo sections. The music seems characteristically French with the influence of Reinhardt clear in Boni's sound, even in the most abstract moments. Given this, when Vidal is on baritone it almost sounds like some sort of Boulez flirtation with musette. Léandre plays pizzicato quite a lot, with lithe glissandi, percussive attacks and graceful melodic fragments. Her prodigious technique with the bow is evident as well, notably on "Des Prunes." Vidal's sound is rife with otherworldly chirps and wails and the duo with Léandre, "Improbable V," is a standout. The duo between Vidal and Boni is quite arresting, with Vidal's wordless vocalizations creating odd resonances inside her soprano saxophone and Boni's effects producing a huge ruckus.
Cadence Magazine 2010 - Phillip McNally
On "Trace" Leandre is joined on a series of Free improvisations by saxophonist Maguelone Vidal and guitarist Raymond Boni. On this date, Leandre uses a lot of the bow, and her arco melds particularly well with the held-tones on the sax and the rattling strings of Boni. He is as compelling as usual, great at expanding the vocabulary of the electric guitar with his scraping and rubbing and striking the strings, bending the notes not as a blues effect but to get to the micro-tones so central to his sound. Vidal is a new voice to me, and she seems to like slap-tonguing and over blowing to create abstraction with her horns. This is a trio of equal voices making a group sound on mostly brief pieces, which lends a nice concision and a tight cohesion to the end results. There’s no self-indulgence on "Trace"; due to the virtuosity of the players, this is trio music with nearly an orchestral sound.