Compared to Joëlle Léandre's previous disc for Leo Records, another trio session titled Out of Sound and released only a couple of months earlier, The Chicken Check in Complex is much more expansive. No recording date is provided, but the general feel of the music, free improv eschewing both post-Machine Gun rants and fin de siècle reductionism, puts this album close to the debut CD by the quartet Madly You (Léandre, Carlos Zingaro, Daunik Lazro, and Paul Lovens). Léandre, Zingaro, and Sebi Tramontana have been playing together in many formations. They know each other well and this ease can be detected at every twist and turn of the music. The violinist is the wild card here; he fuses into the bassist's lines, mimics the trombonist's wails, or sticks to his own voice, therefore propelling each piece in a different direction. The music has been broken into short pieces ranging from two to eight minutes; some editing is obvious for a couple of tracks, but it is hard to tell if the other ones were performed "as is" or were part of a longer improvisation. In the end it will matter only to purists. The short durations allow for frequent resets and give a sense of cohesion to the group, since the pieces don't take forever to start or end. Tramontana shines in his playful solo "Adesso Voglio Fare," in which he comes very close to Joost Buis' signature sound during his days with Palinckx. Other highlights include "Game Strategy" and "Unique," but the whole album stays at a satisfactory level. Fans of Léandre will definitely be pleased by this release, which is much warmer than E'Vero, her set of duets with Tramontana.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture