MMM Quartet (Frith / Leandre / Leimgruber / Curran)
Live At The Metz' Arsenal
Master improvisers Joelle Leandre (double bass), Fred Frith (guitar), Alvin Curran (electronics, piano) and Urs Leimgruber (saxophones) in a new quartet for a live, abstract recording that moves at a fast past.
Catalog ID: LEO 631
Squidco Product Code: 16724
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded live at the Metz' Arsenal on November 20th, 2009.
Joelle Leandre-double bass
Alvin Curran-electronics, piano
Urs Leimgruber-soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
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1. Part One 45:23
2. Part Two 6:58
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"World-renowned improvisers align for a meeting of the minds on this live date, spawning a multidimensional stance, where on-the-fly invention rules the roost. The breadth of each artists' scope and stylization yields a scrappy game plan, containing a succession of abstracts which move forward at a brisk pace. Electronics pioneer Alvin Curran supplies bizarre background treatments, intersecting many of the asymmetrical patterns or mimicking the group dialogues. In a sense, he offers a translucent perspective within the body of this polytonal extravaganza.
The electro-organic program is a scrappy one. With swarming convergences featuring master bassist Joelle Léandre's burgeoning arco lines and lyric-less vocal chants, the quartet dishes out unearthly dialogues amid a surfeit of fleeting counter maneuvers; sub-themes emerge, disappear, and morph into subsequent plans of action.
Saxophonist Urs Leimgruber intersperses microtonal language in spots, and also joins his teammates in numerous rhythmic exercises. The program is essentially underscored with either haunting outlooks or descents into subliminal, carefully engineered improvisational forums, especially on the 45-minute "Part One," the set's predominant track. Here, the musicians execute interweaving dialogues, and it's often hard to distinguish who is doing what. A magical aura pervades throughout, including a few lighthearted segments that elicit imagery of an avant-garde cartoon soundtrack.
With buzzing sax notes, creaky bass, and guitarist Fred Frith's assorted bag of tricks, the musicians occasionally generate a rough and tumble environ within a fractured loop. They do calm the waters three-quarters into "Part One," providing some quiet time along the way. These artists are among the best in the business, irrefutably meeting or even exceeding expectations via this superior exhibition."-Leo Records
• Show Bio for Joelle Leandre
"Joëlle Léandre (born 12 September 1951 in Aix-en-Provence, France) is a double bassist, vocalist, and composer active in new music and free improvisation.
In the field of contemporary music, she has performed with Pierre Boulez's Ensemble InterContemporain, and worked with Merce Cunningham and John Cage. Both Cage and Giacinto Scelsi have composed works specifically for her.
She gave an historic solo concert in "Jazz em Agosto" in 2007 (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal). In this same top jazz festival, Léandre performed also in the "Quartet Noir", a quartet with quite rare live performances, with Marilyn Crispell, Urs Leimgruber and Fritz Hauser.
She has also collaborated with some of the preeminent musicians in the fields of jazz and improvised music, including Derek Bailey, Barre Phillips, Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, India Cooke, Evan Parker, Irène Schweizer, Steve Lacy, Maggie Nicols, Fred Frith, Carlos Zingaro, John Zorn, Susie Ibarra, J. D. Parran, Kevin Norton, Eric Watson, Ernst Reijseger, Akosh S. and Sylvie Courvoisier.
In 1983 she became a member of the European Women Improvising Group (EWIG), which resulted from former Feminist Improvising Group and in later 1980s she co-founded the feminist improvising Trio Les Diaboliques, with Schweizer and Nicols."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo%C3%ABlle_L%C3%A9andre)
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• Show Bio for Fred Frith
"Though the point of reference for many remains the iconic band Henry Cow, which he co-founded in 1968 and which broke up more than 30 years ago, Fred Frith has never really stood still for an instant.
In bands such as Art Bears, Massacre, Skeleton Crew, Keep the Dog, Tense Serenity, the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet, Eye to Ear, and most recently Cosa Brava, he has always held true to his roots in rock and folk music, while exploring influences that range from the literary works of Eduardo Galeano to the art installations of Cornelia Parker.
The release of the seminal Guitar Solos in 1974 enabled him to simultaneously carve out a place for himself in the international improvised music scene, not only as an acclaimed solo performer but in the company of artists as diverse as Han Bennink, Chris Cutler, Jean-Pierre Drouet, Evelyn Glennie, Ikue Mori, Louis Sclavis, Stevie Wishart, Wu Fei, Camel Zekri, John Zorn, and scores of others.
He has also developed a personal compositional language in works written for Arditti Quartet, Asko Ensemble, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Ensemble Modern, Concerto Köln, and ROVA Sax Quartet, for example. Fred has been active as a composer for dance since the early 1980s, working with choreographers Bebe Miller, François Verret, and especially long-time collaborator and friend Amanda Miller, with whom he has created a compelling body of work over the last twenty years.
His film soundtracks (for award-winning films like Thomas Riedelsheimer's Rivers and Tides and Touch the Sound, Peter Mettler's Gambling, Gods, and LSD, and Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow's Thirst, to name a few) won him a lifetime achievement award from Prague's "Music on Film, Film on Music" Festival (MOFFOM) in 2007. The following year he received Italy's Demetrio Stratos Prize (previously given to Diamanda Galas and Meredith Monk) for his life's work in experimental music, and in 2010 was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Huddersfield in his home county of Yorkshire.
Fred currently teaches in the Music Department at Mills College in Oakland, California (renowned for over fifty years as the epicenter of the American experimental tradition), and in the Musik Akademie in Basel, Switzerland."-Fred Frith Website (http://www.fredfrith.com/biography.html)
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• Show Bio for Alvin Curran
"Born December 13, 1938, Providence, Rhode Island. From five years: piano lessons, trombone, marching bands, Synagogue chants, Jazz, and his father's dance bands. Becomes an artist at age 13 in an apple tree at the house of his lifelong friend, poet Clark Coolidge. Hears Spike Jones, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, Satchmo, The Boston Symphony Orcherstra, Art Tatum, Charlie Parker, The Band of America, Thelonius Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Miles Davis, Coltrane, Bartok and Christian Wolff.
With a fortuitous bang, he begins his musical journey (1965 in Rome) as co-founder of the radical music collective Musica Elettronica Viva, as a solo performer, and as a composer for Rome's avantgarde theater scene. In the 70's, he creates a poetic series of solo works for synthesizer, voice, taped sounds and found objects. Seeking to develop new musical spaces, and now considered one of the leading figures in making music outside of the concert halls -- he develops a series of concerts for lakes, ports, parks, buildings, quarries and caves -- his natural laboratories. In the 1980's, he extends the ideas of musical geography by creating simultaneous radio concerts for three, then six large ensembles performing together from many European Capitals. By connecting digital samplers to MIDI Grands (Diskklavier) and computers, since 1987, he produces an enriched body of solo performance works -- an ideal synthesis between the concert hall and all sounding phenomena in the world. He creates a visually striking series of sound installations, some of them in collaboration with visual artists including Paul Klerr, Melissa Gould, Kristin Jones, Pietro Fortuna, Umberto Bignardi, Uli Sigg. Throughout these years he continues to write numerous pieces for radio and for acoustic instruments.
Studies composition with Ron Nelson (B.A. Brown University 1960) and with Elliott Carter and Mel Powell ( M.Mus., Yale School of Music 1963). During summer vacations, plays European crossings with the "Brunotes" on the Holland American Line, in a Greek Dance Band in the Catskills, and in the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas.
Continues studies and friendship with Carter in Berlin (1964 Ford Foundation Grant), meets Stravinsky, Xenakis, Berio, Yuji Takahashi, Andriessen, Remo Remotti, and above all Rzewski. Goes to Darmstadt, hangs with Babbitt and Earl Brown, hears Stockhausen and Ligeti. Goes to Rome with Joel Chadabe and plays piano in bars on via Veneto, meets Franco Evangelisti and Cornelius Cardew.
In the Musica Elettronica Viva years (1966 -1971 in Rome), performs in over 200 concerts in Europe and the USA with Teitelbaum and Rzewski, Carol Plantamura, Ivan Vandor, Alan Bryant and Jon Phetteplace; and makes significant artistic encounters with Giuseppe Chiari, Edith Schloss, AMM, Cardew, Steve Lacy, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Steve ben Israel, Anthony Braxton, Simone Forti, Steve Reich, Joan La Barbara, Michael Nyman, La Monte Young, Trisha Brown, Ashley, Behrman, Gordon Mumma, Alvin Lucier, Larry Austin, Bill Smith, Ketoff, Robert Moog, Nuova Consonanza, MEV2, Meme Perlini, Mario Ricci, Maria Monti, Prima Materia, Ron Bunzl, Phil Glass, Charlemagne Palestine, Terry Riley, George Lewis, Evan Parker, Gregory Reeves, Serge Tcherepnin, Kosugi, Pulsa, Maryanne Amacher, John Cage, David Tudor, Morton Feldman. Scelsi becomes his friend and mentor.
From 1975-80 taught vocal improvisation at the Accademia Nazionale d'Arte Drammatica (Rome) and from 1991 to 2006 was the Milhaud Professor of Composition at Mills College in Oakland, California. Currently teaching privately in Rome in addition to master classes, residencies, and lectures at Oberlin, Peabody, Brown, Berkeley, The Hague, Haifa, Bolzano, Northwestern, Yale, Beijing, etc."-Alvin Curran Website (http://www.alvincurran.com/Curran_bio.html)
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