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Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no 435, 18 août 2004

Joëlle Léandre is a very well known improvisor from France, a momument of european improvised music. Her discography is enormous, her collaborations are numerous. She needs no further introduction. Gianni Lenoci on the other hand is a rising star from Italy. He teaches Jazz and Contemporary Music at the Nino Rota Conservatory in Monopoli. He is known for his work as a member the Eugenio Colombo Quartet, a famous quartet in Italy. With computer music composer Franco Degrassi he made an album for the british ASC Records. As a performer of contemporary music he feels affinity with the music of Morton Feldman, John Cage, a.o. This he has in common with Joëlle Léandre who considers John Cage to be one of her most important teachers. How did the meeting between the two come by? Lenoci invited Léandre for a clinic at his conservatory, but also for a recording session because Lenoci had the feeling that “this was the right moment to organize a recording session with Joëlle Léandre.” Alas liner notes do not explain what established this “right moment”. Anyway, to be more exact, on may 31, 2003 they spend a day in a studio in Bari, and recorded 14 improvisations that are all named Balançoire (1 up to 14). Listening to the music the expression ‘civilised improvisation’ came to my mind. The playing is a little clean and controlled, no wild outbrakes or cry from the heart. Léandre and Lenoci stay very kind to each other. But the music is intense and spontaneous on the other hand. Without question we hear two very capable improvisors with great vocabulary and a successfull first meeting. The last track, Balançoire 14, is the most funny track, were Lenoci touches on all kinds of idioms, and you can feel the joy they must have had. Maybe a good starting point for a next meeting.

… you can feel the joy they must have had.

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