The Squid's Ear Magazine

Leandre, Joelle / Pascal Contet: Miniatures (Trost Records)

A collaboration that goes back 30 years, French improvising bassist Joëlle Léandre and avant accordionist Pascal Contet in their fifth album together, turning from their more typically extended conversations to a series of 10 "Miniatures", shorter and diverse dialogs recorded live in 2022 at the beautiful Arsenal Concert Hall in Metz, France.

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Joelle Leandre-bass

Pascal Contet-accordion

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UPC: 9120036683907

Label: Trost Records
Catalog ID: TROST 244CD
Squidco Product Code: 34454

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2024
Country: Austria
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded by Maikol Seminatore November 14, 2022 at Metz Arsenal.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Since emerging in the early 1980s the French bassist, composer, and vocalist Joëlle Léandre has ignored the gaps between improvised and composed music, jazz and new music, inventively braiding post-Cagean concepts with the free jazz ferment she witnessed first-hand growing up in Paris.

Accordion master and fellow countryman Pascal Contet was initially rooted in contemporary music, helping to bring it back as a viable, versatile instrument in experimental music, but throughout his long career he's also increasingly embraced free improvisation.

Those diverse backgrounds and shared curiosity has made them natural artistic partners, a relationship that has endured for 30 years. Together they have forged a unique duo language built from deep experience and wide-open ears. Their joint practice is all about creating connections in real-time, but that development has only been documented on recordings a handful of times, each new transmission providing bracing updates on their collaboration.

The duo tried something different with Miniatures, their fifth album together. Recorded in November of 2022 at Arsenal, Metz, France, the pair imposed a slight restriction on this set of improvisations, deciding from the outset to stick with shorter pieces, hence the title. Leandre and Contet have displayed an uncanny rapport from the beginning, but while most of their work has followed intuitive exchanges, with each musician coalescing or pushing against the flow to create new openings, the music on the new album generally finds them latching on to single spontaneous idea, exploring each nook and cranny.

On a piece like "Miniature 2" the bassist begins with shadowy arco figures that seem straight out of a vintage suspense film, and soon she's shadowed by Contet's abstractions, which deliver creaky, wheezing textures and key noises more than the squeezebox's typical chordal swells. On the following piece Leandre sculpts a beautiful sequence of sighing arco melodies, with Contet cushioning and expanding those shapes with a delicate flow of chords that suggests that the fully improvised piece had been composed beforehand. On "Miniature 7" the duo walks a tightrope of fragile upper register gestures, a context further defined by Leandre's wordless vocals.

Whether engaged in tumultuous interactions or more contemplative exchanges, the elasticity, listening ability, and generosity of Contet and Leandre has never been more profound."-Trost

Artist Biographies

"Joëlle Léandre is a famous French Bassist and is known for her collaborations with other musicians in the field of improvised music. Born in France on September 12th, 1951, she made her music debut in 1984 with Les Douze Sons. Her childhood was filled with music, and she was particularly interested in the piano during her early years. In her later years, she developed an interest in double bass, which won her many honors and scholarships during her education. Her double bass teacher Pierre Delescluse encouraged her to apply to the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris, where she was formally trained and noticed for her talent in the bass. Her outstanding musicianship took her to the United States and to the Centre for Creative and Performing Arts in Buffalo through a scholarship. In the United States, she expanded her network and met some of the best composers, such as John Cage, Giacinto Scelsi, and Morton Feldman. Among them, John Cage greatly influenced her music and compositions. Her time in the United States also enabled her to experience downtown New York music, which was another significant influence that led to her continued involvement in the field of improvised music.

Some of her notable collaborations in the field of contemporary music are with Pierre Boulez, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, and Giacinto Scelsi. Among them, John Cage and Giacinto Scelsi were the biggest influences in her life and music. In an interview, Joëlle Léandre said that John Cage was her spiritual father and changed her perception of sound and music. In another interview, she tells how Giacinto Scelsi allowed her to discover her own music and how his music transported her into a new world of improved consciousness. In the field of jazz music, she collaborated with Derek Bailey, William Parker, and Sebi Tramontana. Her music was owned and distributed by different music labels, including FMP, Leo, RougueArt, and Red Toucan. Some memorable songs and albums she released throughout the years include Instant Replay, Les Douze sons, Trios, Sweet Zee, Frerebet, Joelle et Tetsu, Philippe Fenelon, Voyages, etc. Some of the recent releases include Can You Hear Me and Unleashed. She has also performed live at the Tampere Jazz Festival twice, where popular international artists compete with each other.

Joëlle Léandre is also the member of European Women's Improvising Group (EWIG). The group evolved from the Feminist Improvising Group, and Joëlle Léandre joined the group in 1983. In the early 1900s, she co-founded Les Diaboliques with Irene Schweizer and Maggie Nicols, who were her long-time musician friends. Besides that, she also teaches several classes in prestigious universities about contemporary and improvised music. She has lived in France, Germany, and U.S during her lifetime, teaching at academic institutions in the religions and playing concerts. In 2002, she was invited to Canada as a visiting professor for music and composition."

-Joelle Leandre Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"After a private career in France, Pascal Contet continued his musical studies in Friborg (Switzerland), at the Musikhochschule in Hanover, at the Royal Conservatory of Copenhagen and at the Akademie der Künste in Graz. Laureate of the Cziffra (1983) and Menuhin (1986) foundations, he received the Bleustein-Blanchet Foundation Prize for Vocation in 1989. In 2012, first for the accordion, he was nominated for the Victoires de la musique classique (categories " Instrumental soloist of the year "and" recording of the year ").

Since 1993, he has been working on the constitution of a repertoire for accordion and today has to his credit around 300 creations from influential composers such as Claude Ballif, Franck Bedrossian, Luciano Berio, Edith Canat de Chizy, Bernard Cavanna, Jean-Pierre Drouet, Peter Eötvös, Ivan Fedele, Sofia Gubaïdulina, Philippe Hurel, Bruno Mantovani, Sébastien Rivas, Yann Robin among others.

Invited by prestigious national and international festivals, he plays with the Orchester Philharmonique de Radio France, the Orchester de la Suisse Romande, the Orchester National de l'Opéra de Paris, the Orchester de Chambre de Lausanne, Les Siècles sous the direction of Diégo Masson, Pierre Boulez, Esa- Pekka Salonen, Jean-Claude Casadesus, Susanna Mäkkli. François-Xavier Roth, Daniel Kawka in around 57 countries among others at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, Victoria Hall in Geneva, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Cité de la Musique in Paris, Stadthalle in Wuppertal, Timisoara, Berkeley University, Shanghai Opera, Tokyo, Seoul Arts center, Yangon (Goethe Institut de Birmanie), Mexico Unam, Cervantino Festival, Tashkent, Almata, Bogota (Sala Arango), eleven countries in West and Central Africa, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Berlin, Hannover ...

A permanent member of the 2e2m and Ars Nova ensembles, he also performs with the Short-circuit ensembles and the Modern Ensemble and has as chamber music partners the clarinetist Paul Meyer, the cellist Ophélie Gaillard, the Diotima, Danel and again Debussy.

With Les Siècles, the Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, the Orchestras of Picardy, Brittany, Strasbourg, Auvergne, Lorraine, Mulhouse, Bratislava, Pascal Contet performs the accordion concertos dedicated to him by Jean Françaix, Bernard Cavanna, Bruno Mantovani (2018)

Composer-performer, he collaborates with Marie-Christine Barrault, Anne Alvaro, Fabrice Melquiot, François Marthouret or Dieudonné Niangouna (Festival d'Avignon at the Cloître des Célestins). He is preparing for a play with the actress Séverine Ferrer.

For 25 years, he has been improvising in the company of double bass player Joëlle Léandre (Choc de Jazz Magazine for their record 3). He has been performing and recording with the famous mouth organ player Wu Wei since 2003, invited singer Camille to join him during his residency at the Europajazz festival, some duets and trios with Scanner (Robin Rimbaud), Joël Cadbury or even with the Kinshasa group: Jupiter Okwess international.

His predilection for improvisation continues with the accompaniment of silent films (cine-concerts) or in the field of digital visual arts with the artist Miguel Chevalier and his Origine du monde and in interactive digital visual creation Other worlds from the 2018-2019 season with Thierry Coduys. Very original and intense, his Utopian Wind recital takes place in immersion in the dark.

He has composed several performance music for Odile Duboc, Mié Coquempot, Fattoumi-Lamoureux, Loic Touzé, Lola Sémonin (La Madeleine Proust), Didier Galas, Dieudonné Niangouna (Les Inepties volantes), Le Vent des Anches, fictional music for France 2 and France 3, cinema for François Marthouret, for Delle Piane - Alain Margot (Télévision Suisse romande), Credits of the Belfort Film Festival, Canal + and parade for the top designer Franck Sorbier (Fall-winter 2016 parade)

Among his 50 discographic opuses, Utopian Wind released under his own label Plein Jeu and Lyric Fantasies, recorded with clarinetist Paul Meyer at Sony Classical, were enthusiastically relayed by the press."

-Pascal Contet Website (Translated by Google) (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Track Listing:

1. Miniatures 1 (4:58)

2. Miniatures 2 (7:20)

3. Miniatures 3 (4:46)

4. Miniatures 4 (4:14)

5. Miniatures 5 (2:44)

6. Miniatures 6 (2:28)

7. Miniatures 7 (2:54)

8. Miniatures 8 (6:21)

9. Miniatures 9 (3:00)

10. Miniatures 10 (2:44)

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Duo Recordings
Stringed Instruments
Piano & Keyboards
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
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Trost Records.

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