Joëlle Léandre

No Comment

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No Comment was the second album by bassist Joëlle Léandre to be released on the Montréal label Red Toucan (the first was a trio session with clarinetist François Houle and pianist Georg Graewe, Live @ Banlieues Bleues). This solo CD culls nine untitled improvisations from two concerts, one at the Vancouver Jazz Festival in June 1995, and the other at the Ibleo Jazz Festival in Ragusa (Italy) in October 1994. This beautiful album is the testimony of Léandre's maturity as an artist. She makes great use of her voice, mimicking the sound of her double bass, spitting out random words or snatches of conversations, or unfolding her deep alto voice through classical-like singing. In "No Comment 5," she gets into a playing/talking frame similar to what Derek Bailey used to do from time to time (see his Fairly Early With Postscripts CD on Emanem). "No Comment 6" is a beautifully lyrical piece. The listener's ear keeps picking out three distinct double bass tracks, yet this is presented as a live album with no electronics involved -- stunning. Throughout the set, Léandre sounds totally immersed in her playing, her whole spirit and body involved in the creation of art. She eschews noise for noise, preferring a freeform but rather note-based approach. There is no going through the motions here. That, and a sound quality that will allow you to believe she is playing in your living room, is what makes No Comment an essential item in Léandre's discography. The same record label reissued the album in 2001 with different artwork.

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