Pas de deux

Fred Frith, Danielle Palardy Roger

The recordings are first-rate, details coming to the fore while the overall picture is never marred or blurred. All About Jazz, USA

Les instruments proposent des acrobaties de sonorités, avec une complicité évidente, presque animale entre la guitare et ses traitements et la batterie/percussions. Revue & Corrigée, France

Prix Opus 2008-09: Disque de l’année — Finaliste

This meeting with Fred Frith was a jubilation from start to finish. One of those precious moments where trust rules and energy flows. We had never played together, but it was bound to happen. The initial impetus for this duo came from a Carte blanche offered by Pierre Dumont of the Festival des musiques de création in Saguenay. To me, it seemed appropriate to honor that Carte blanche with this project with Fred. And as long as we were dragging him to Québec, we had to take the opportunity to present this “rare” duo in Montréal, at La Sala Rossa. This CD is not the faithful reproduction of one of these concerts, but a collage featuring highlights from both evenings. Fred and I have mixed and edited separately, from the live recordings. I have worked from a superimposition of the two concerts, while Fred worked on stripping them down. Since I did not have the distance necessary to make the final editing decisions, I asked DAME label’s honcho (and my dear friend and super-colleague) Joane Hétu to bring the CD project to a close. So here you have a work of excellent audio quality that faithfully communicates the energy and telepathy Fred and I experienced together. —Danielle Palardy Roger

CD (AM 175)

  • Label: Ambiances Magnétiques
  • AM 175
  • 2008
  • UCC 771028117529
  • Total duration: 46:38
  • Sympathique case
  • 126 mm × 126 mm × 5 mm
  • 45 g

On the web


So Much Time Spent…

So much time spent discussing improvisation — seminars, symposia, conferences, thesis papers, the ever important considerations of history and gender and race and politics and why this and why that, and what’s essential and what’s next, and who came first and who’s who and who are you? Mercifully, the act of improvising slips the broader discourse in an instant. It only works when you are in the moment, and in the moment all else disappears. Playing with an old friend, exchanging musical glances, passing the time of night, showing, telling, crying, shouting, spurring each other on, celebrating the fact that we’re still here, still alive, and still have plenty to say to each other.


I Feel a Natural Affinity with Fred…

I feel a natural affinity with Fred, because of his deep roots in rock and traditional music, but mostly because of his devouring passion for improvised music. Music by means of which we improvisers communicate with the other improvisers and the audience. A here-and-now moment where improvisers can project and share, on the spot, their essence, ideas, and understanding; their way of driving the action, feeding the discussion, bouncing back, supporting or concluding a proposition. This is one of these moments where we creators are the most completely engaged in creation and the present time. Improvised music is like an extreme sport…


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In the press


Marc Medwin, All About Jazz, October 4, 2009

Pas de deux, Frith’s duo disc with percussionist Danielle Palardy Rogers, a stunning series of improvisations that, according to the notes, are somehow edited and even superimposed. The results are intriguing and diverse. Contrast the frenetic power and fractious pointillisms of Dernier cri with the ageless beauty and meditative grace of L’Auberge des Quatre vents 1, with its flute-like guitar work and eventual shamanistic vocalizations. The recordings are first-rate, details coming to the fore while the overall picture is never marred or blurred.

The recordings are first-rate, details coming to the fore while the overall picture is never marred or blurred.


Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 80, June 1, 2009
Les instruments proposent des acrobaties de sonorités, avec une complicité évidente, presque animale entre la guitare et ses traitements et la batterie/percussions.

Destination Out

Nick Storring, Exclaim!, February 1, 2009

The avalanche of noise that erupts as the play button is depressed, while superficially exciting, made me ask, “Isn’t this the same ‘one, two, three, go!’ with which countless other improvisers open their sets?” Prepared as I was to be under-whelmed after further decent-yet-familiar free-improv gesticulations, I was awestruck once it came to the forth and fifth tracks, excerpts from the duo’s performance at L’Auberge des Quatres Vents. The first of the two charts the evisceration of new age music, beginning with fierce tinkling bells that grow more frantic over a Fripp-like, e-bowed guitar chorale. Palardy Roger begins a throaty chant (calling to mind Sidsel Endresen as much as Diamanda Galas), alongside pulsating metallic sheets emanating from Frith’s guitar. Additional surprises follow. On the next track, industrial drone and clatter accompany Frith’s breathy ad hoc croon. Later, amidst a flurry of soft cymbals, a slide guitar solo emerges. The piece bridges the gap between early Sonny Sharrock and Einstürzende Neubauten (especially the Blixa-like vocals). These unexpected flavours serve as a reminder of how exciting it is to hear improvisers exercise their freedom to borrow ideas from outside of the standard free-improv lexicon.

how exciting it is to hear improvisers exercise their freedom to borrow ideas from outside of the standard free-improv lexicon.


Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 659, January 1, 2009

Four CDs of improvising duos. Duos that take very different routes. With the exception of the CD by Frith and Roger, this are also examples of meetings between young and older generations. Berthiaume teams up with veteran Elliott Sharp. Quentin Sirjacq works with reputed French improvisor Joëlle Léandre, and Isaiah Ceccarelli works with Michel F Côté.

Pas de deux is a first encounter — at last — between veterans Fred Frith (electric guitar, processing, voice) and Danielle Palardy Roger (drums, percussion, voice). Roger was most of her career involved in all-women line ups like Wondeur Brass, Justine and Les Poules. The recordings come from two duo concerts that took place in 2007 at the Festival des Musiques de Création. But they are not delivered here as played. Through a process of editing and mixing by Roger, Frith and others they compiled a collage of the best moments from these concerts. Frith uses many different techniques here. He integrates melodic and other conventional musical aspects into the improvised context where he earlier concentrated on pure sound and noise. This an album by two improvisors who are still passionate about their art as this album proves.

Base is filled with 11 improvisations by guitarists Berthiaume and Sharp. They were recorded in New York. Berthiaume played duets earlier with Derek Bailey and Fred Frith, as well as with another guitarist, Takumi Seino and Mary Clare Brzytwa on flute and electronics. Now he has a date with Elliott Sharp, a central force from the New York avantgarde scene for some 30 years now. Their guitar improvisations consist of thick layers of heavily processed noisy sounds. Although this is a radical investigation into the world of sound and noise, their powerplay failed to impress me. For my taste it all sounded a bit arbitrary.

Let’s switch to another duo. In contrast with the lengthy and at times bombastic streams of noise of Berthiaume and Sharp, Ceccarelli and Côté concentrate on small and subtile sounds.

Both Ceccarelli and Côté play drums and percussion, piano, electronics, lap steel, trumpet and drumhead feedback on their inspired collaboration Vulgarités. Michel F Côté is already around for some time and his discography carries many remarkable CDs like Compil Zouave and (Juste) Claudette. Ceccarelli is a young drummer and composer. He plays a lot with other Montréal-based musicians in projects like Steppe Trio, Quartetski does Prokofiev and Quartetski does Satie. With a great sense for detail Côté and Ceccarelli deliver a very spirited improvised music. And without losing themselves in these details they are able to built captivating and surprising structures. Their pointillist style assures you hear something new after each listening.

Quentin Sirjacq (piano, gong, prepared piano) I only met once before on a CD with Anthoine Berthiaume and Norman Teale. Joëlle Léandre needs no further introduction. She is a french improvisor on cello, to be heard on dozens and dozens of records. The improvisations on this record where done on one day in january in Paris.

From all four duets these ones may be the most conventional and accessible ones. A romantic mood prevails here. The use of extended techniques is very limited. This has the advantage that the players can be easily distinguished. The interplay is more transparent. Their improvisations often come close to modern composed chamber music, like in the closing track Closing.

A romantic mood prevails here.


Stefano Isidoro Bianchi, Blow Up, no. 128, January 1, 2009

Quintetto di nuove uscite per la Ambiances Magnétiques. Nel secondo CD a nome personale il chitarrista dei Klaxon Gueule e dei Foodsoon Bernard Falaise chiama a raccolta una band voluminosa e di tutto rispetto (Gordon Allen alla tromba, Jean Derome al sax e al flauto, Lori Freedman al clarinetto e al clarone, Julien Grégoire alla marimba, Jean Martin alla batteria e Tom Walsh al trombone), dichiarandosi polistrumentista duttile ed accorto (chitarra, basso, banjo, mandolino, giradischi ecc.) per dar vita a una serie di quadri in cui rielabora i propri amori legati al passato: rock d’impianto ‘prog’, jazzetto informale, folk barocco, art-rock post canterburiano e persino fumi di centramerica come li amerebbe Tom Waits.

Da parte loro Joane Hétu (sax e voce), Diane Labrosse (sampler) e Danielle Palardy Roger (percussioni) riportano in vita il vecchio progetto Les Poules, con cui elaborano una serie di stralunati schizzi in cui un’improvvisazione liberissima incontra la surrealtà del caso, la costruzione dada e le sfasature del jazz con molto, forse troppo, senso del gioco (la Hétu come Phil Minton, ecc.): gioverebbe parecchio la visione delle tre all’opera piuttosto che il solo ascolto.

La stessa Palardy Roger rende molto meglio duettando con la chitarra di Fred Frith in Pas de deux, disco d’improvvisata che coagula elementi avant rock, jazz ed elettronici in un mix esuberante e una volta tanto veramente indefinibile, alieno da facili catalogazioni quanto prodigo di idee e input sorprendentemente freschi: dietro l’angolo sbucano un assolo di chitarra slide-hawaiiana, minacciose escrescenze elettroniche (i ‘treatments’ di Frith) o voci in format-strumento. Uno dei migliori Frith ascoltati negli ultimi anni.

Profondamente diverse ma di tutto rispetto anche le chitarre di Antoine Berthiaume ed Elliott Sharp, che in Base celebrano un onirico viaggio impro-noise a base di feedback e drones trattati in modo tale da costitire un corpo compatto ma non monocromatico, anzi decisamente eccentrico nella scelta dei timbri, secchi e risonanti, metallici, a tratti quasi plastici: c’è qualcosa di spaziale e cosmico in questi suoni che sapere esclusivamente chitarristici stupisce non poco; anche in questo caso si tratta di uno dei migliori Sharp degli ultimi anni.

Infine il CD accreditato al contrabbassista John Geggie, le cui composizioni, qui suonate assieme a Marilyn Crispell (piano) e Nick Fraser (batteria), ispirano uno struggente sentimento jazz old fashioned senza però mai restare impantanate nella semplice nostalgia ma viceversa ammiccando spesso verso l’avant; alla consumata abilità strumentale dei musicisti fare il resto.

Uno dei migliori Frith ascoltati negli ultimi anni.

Ambiances percussives

Réjean Beaucage, Voir, December 4, 2008

La compositrice et percussionniste Danielle Palardy Roger prépare un concert-lancement avec Fred Frith et sort sa batterie de cuisine avec l’Ensemble SuperMusique.

En mai dernier, sa musique, écrite, était interprétée par les musiciens de l’Ensemble contemporain de Montréal dirigés par Véronique Lacroix; mercredi prochain, elle improvisera de A à Z le temps d’un concert en duo avec le grand guitariste Fred Frith; la semaine suivante, elle sera au sein de l’Ensemble SuperMusique pour interpréter sa musique (et d’autres) notée(s) sur des canevas rigoureux, mais ouverts, dans un programme imaginé par Joane Hétu. Pour Danielle Palardy Roger, tous les moyens sont bons pour exprimer sa musicalité, du «carcan» de la partition à la spontanéité la plus crue.

Lorsque je lui demande si le concert avec Frith sera du même genre que ce que l’on peut entendre sur leur disque Pas de deux, enregistré en 2006 et qui sera lancé au même moment, elle répond: «Je n’en sais rien, il y a bien longtemps que nous avons joué ensemble! On le saura le soir du concert. Nous n’avions jamais joué ensemble avant les deux concerts qui ont servi à faire le disque, mais la rencontre de la musique de Fred a été fondamentale dans ma démarche. Je ne suis pas une vraie batteuse de rock, mais dans Wondeur Brass ou Justine, c’était tout de même mon rôle, et je me sens des atomes crochus avec Fred de ce côté-là». Peut-être même que le multi-instrumentiste européen jouera aussi de la batterie puisqu’il y en aura deux sur scène ce soir-là. Michel F Côté et Isaiah Ceccarelli, deux percussionnistes assez éclatés, se produiront juste avant pour nous donner un aperçu de leur disque Vulgarités, aussi lancé lors de cette soirée.

Une semaine plus tard, Danielle Palardy Roger passera deux soirs à la SAT pour participer au programme Y’a du bruit dans ma cabane, avec l’Ensemble SuperMusique (Jean Derome [briqueteur], Joane Hétu [maître de chantier], Diane Labrosse [ébéniste], Pierre-Yves Martel [plâtrier], Pierre Tanguay [maçon] et Martin Tétreault [plombier]!). Avant et après, elle occupera ses fonctions de présidente du regroupement Le Vivier, qui offrira bientôt aux musiques nouvelles une Maison au cœur du Quartier des spectacles. Espérons seulement que ce n’est pas Martin Tétreault qui y fera la plomberie!


Réjean Beaucage, Voir, November 13, 2008

Excellente idée de départ: à partir de deux concerts de musique improvisée en duo (Fred Frith: guitare électrique, traitements et voix — Danielle Palardy Roger: percussions et voix), on a superposé les enregistrements, puis raffiné le mix en studio. Le résultat est lui aussi excellent. Très abstrait, bien entendu, comme les improvisations de départ, et davantage encore avec l’ingrédient aléatoire ajouté par la superposition. Les pièces sont courtes et l’ensemble varié, tant sur le plan du jeu (surtout à la guitare, superbe) que dans l’étendue du spectre sonore. Prises de son excellentes (Bernard Grenon à la Sala Rossa et Lucien Villeneuve au Festival des musiques de création de Saguenay).

Le résultat est […] excellent.


Le son du grisli, November 7, 2008

Faisant de l’enregistrement de deux concerts donnés ensemble le matériau de base avec lequel bâtir Pas de deux, la percussionniste Danielle Palardy Roger et le guitariste Fred Frith élaborent un objet sonore aussi charmant que dérangé.

De râles autrement découpés en relectures faites à l’envers, d’usages instrumentaux en décalages en exercices de style bruitistes et répétitifs, le duo met au jour un psychédélisme las qui aurait échangé son envie d’en imposer contre le détachement altier à opposer à tout idéal insaisissable: alors, sous l’expérimentation, d’heureuses découvertes.

… la percussionniste Danielle Palardy Roger et le guitariste Fred Frith élaborent un objet sonore aussi charmant que dérangé.