In December 2006 French contrabassist and free improviser Joëlle Léandre was in New York interacting with a musician whose intuitive bearing and years of experience made him an excellent creative partner. Released the following year by Leo Records as Winter in New York, this modestly proportioned set of eight duets with percussionist Kevin Norton is recommended for anyone who loves to experience music without boundaries, constraints, or conventional parameters. Léandre, whose approach to musicality may be compared with that of her friend and sometime collaborator William Parker, has a healthy penchant for using the bow to generate a stunning range of textures, tones, and effects. Norton, who is one of New York's great versatile percussionists, handles the vibraphone in a manner that suggests the influence of Karl Berger. The material on this album was made around the time when Norton was drumming with the Tilt Brass Band as heard on Anthony Coleman's Tzadik release Pushy Blueness. Léandre's other noteworthy accomplishments in 2006 included a set of duo collaborations with bassist Barre Phillips; a parcel of trio realizations with François Houle and Raymond Strid entitled "9 Moments," as well as an album with pianist Marilyn Crispell and the Stone Quartet. During 2006, Léandre was also filmed in concert performance with Swiss pianist Irène Schweizer and Scottish vocalist Maggie Nicols as the trio Les Diaboliques. In March 2007, she would record in Belgium with Anthony Braxton. A tendency toward periodic involvement in Braxton's musical universe is one of many special qualities which Norton and Léandre have in common. Norton, it should be noted, appears on no less than 20 Braxton albums recorded between the years 1995 and 2003. More recently he has been active as a member of John Lindberg's Tripolar.
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