The Squid's Ear Magazine

Sawai, Kazue / Michel Doneda / Kazuo Imai / Le Quan Ninh / Tetsu Saitoh: Une chance pour l'ombre (Les Disques Victo)

Beautiful, string-heavy set with French saxophonist Michel Doneda and koto master Kazue Sawai, plus Kazuo Imai on guitar, Le Quan Ninh on percussion, Tetsu Saitoh on bass, performing at the 20th Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville/

Price: $15.95


In Stock

Quantity in Basket: None

Log In to use our Wish List Shipping Weight: 4.00 units

product information:

UPC: 777405009425

Label: Les Disques Victo
Catalog ID: VICCD094
Squidco Product Code: 4420

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2004
Country: Canada
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded live at the 20th Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, May 19, 2003, by Martin Meilleur.


Kazue Sawai-Koto

Michel Doneda-saxophone

Kazuo Imai-guitar

Le Quan Ninh-percussion

Tetsu Saitoh-bass

Click an artist name above to see in-stock items for that artist.

Sample The Album:

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Recorded at one of the most surprising and entrancing concerts of the 2003 Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, Une Chance pour l'Ombre features an impressive French-Japanese cast performing free improvisation of the most demanding -- and rewarding -- kind. Most of the members of this quintet had previously played with each other in other groupings. Bassist Tetsu Saitoh is a regular collaborator with koto player Kazue Sawai, who herself has occasionally performed alongside saxophonist Michel Doneda (their trio recording Three Day Moon: Live at Hall Egg Farm is recommended). The latter and percussionist Lê Quan Ninh's musical paths have intertwined since the '80s. Kazuo Imai is perhaps the least-known figure of the ensemble, and his unamplified acoustic guitar playing provides the most peculiar voice in this two-piece set. Intermingling with the koto, the double bass and Ninh's sparse (but oh so inventive) percussion, the guitar is constantly reshuffling the deck. Doneda, Imai, and Ninh are known to foray into the quietest territories of the free improv realm, while Sawai and Saitoh are more generally perceived as "traditional" improvisers, but such a distinction is rendered useless here, as the five of them strike a wonderful balance between silence and sound, listening and playing, density and intensity. The music unfolds delicately, slowly enough to let the listener marvel at its details. The 22-minute "Une Chance pour l'Ombre" features a lot of interplay between koto and guitar, and a higher overall density level. "A Chance for Shade" (the literal translation of the first piece's title) is more subdued, sustained textures gradually stealing the show as the piece progresses toward its conclusion. The impeccable quality of the recording takes us into the heart of the music. Well worth your hard-earned money, even if you are not usually fond of quiet free improv."-François Couture, All Music

Get additional information at All Music

Artist Biographies

"Michel Doneda (F) soprano saxophone, born in 1954, comes from the French South-West. He is a self-taught musician.

In 1980 he founded in Toulouse a reed trio: HIC ET NUNC, a group that toured quite a lot in France, playing mostly improvised music. At the same time he founded with musicians, dancers and actors a place called IREA (Institute for research and exchange between arts of improvisation).

In the following years, he participated in music projects with other artists and he became a regular guest of the Chantenay-Villedieu festival. Meeting other artists he developed a very personal approach with his music and his instrument in improvised music. During this period he played with Europeans musicians: Fred Van Hove, Phil Wachsmann, Max Eastley, Steve Beresford and Americans: John Zorn, Eliott Sharp, Elvin Jones

In 1985 he made his first record under his own name: TERRA (Nato record). At the same time he started playing regurlarly with Lê Quan Ninh, Daunik Lazro, Benat Achiary, Martine Altenburger, Barre Phillips, Paul Rogers, Tetsu Saitoh, Kazue Sawai. More recently he developed his work with Keith Rowe, Gunter Muller, Bhob Rainey, Giuseppe Ielasi and dancers as Masaki Iwana, Yukiko Nakamura, Valérie Métivier and poets, actors.

Since then, he has been very involved in the international improvised music scene, toured in Africa, Japan, Asia, USA, Canada, South America, Russia and with a lot of improvisers in Europe. In 1992 he founded in Toulouse with musicians, actors, poets, dancers the association: La Flibuste. As of today he recorded almost 50 records for European, Americans and Japanese labels."

-Timeart Ensemble Website (

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

"Kazuo Imai (今井 和雄 Imai Kazuo, born September 24, 1955) is a Tokyo-based guitarist who plays in a rigorous and original free improvisation idiom. His music joins the rigour and texture of contemporary classical with the passion of free jazz. He has played with many Western and Japanese improvisers, including Lee Konitz, Barre Phillips, Arthur Doyle, Han Bennink, Irene Schweizer, Shuichi Chino, Tetsu Saitoh and Kazue Sawai. In addition to playing solo and in collaborations, Imai is also a member of the important collective improvisation group Marginal Consort. As well as guitar, Imai also plays viola da gamba.

Born in Kawasaki in 1955, Imai studied with two of post-war Japan's leading musical iconoclasts, Takehisa Kosugi and Masayuki Takayanagi. Imai studied under Kosugi at the Bigakko art school from 1975, and as a graduation project he participated in the East Bionic Symphonia collective improvisation performance and recording. Kosugi invited Imai to play with his well-known mixed media group Taj Mahal Travellers, which he did from 1975 to 1977. Imai also studied under guitar virtuoso Masayuki Takayanagi, and was the only one of Takayanagi's private students to ever graduate. Imai played for several months with Takayanagi's New Directions group in 1976.

Imai withdrew from live performance completely between 1985 and 1991. When he returned it was primarily as a solo performer, at a still ongoing series of self-promoted concerts entitled "Solo Works". From this time he began releasing solo and duo records, and performing with Western musicians who visited Japan, including Lee Konitz, Barre Phillips and Arthur Doyle.

In 1997, Imai was instrumental in reforming East Bionic Symphonia, under the new name of Marginal Consort. The group continue to play one concert each year."

-Wikipedia (

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

"As a classical trained percussionist, Lê Quan Ninh worked with contemporary music ensembles and was a founder member of Quatuor Hêlios (1986-2012), a percussion quartet that performed and recorded, among others, John Cage's percussion works. Their last creation was Seul à Seuls by Georges Aperghis premiered in late 2006 at the Musica Festival in Strasbourg (France).

As an improvisor, he participates at numerous meetings in Europe and in North America and plays regularly in ensembles in forms that mix improvised acoustic & electroacoustic music, 'performance art', dance, poetry, experimental cinema, photography and video.

With the cellist Martine Altenburger, he founded in 2006 the ensemble]h[iatus, a contemporary music ensemble whose its members are at the same time interpreters and improvisers. They commissioned pieces to the composers Vinko Globokar, Peter Jakober, Steffen Krebber, Jennifer Walshe and Anthony Pateras

His discography counts about 40 CD on european and north american labels. The last release (Aplomb, 2015) is a duet with his long term colleague Michel Doneda.

In 2014, he publishes the translation of his book Improvising Freely. The ABCs of an Experience (previously published in french)."

-Le Quan Ninh Website (

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

Tetsu Saitoh (Contrabassist, Composer): "1955-2019. Born in Tokyo, Japan and heavily influenced by dance, Butoh, theatre, fine art, film, song, writing, Japanese folk music, Gagaku, Noh theatre, Western classical music, modern music, Tango music of Astor Piazolla, free improvisation, and Korean-Asian shamanism. Eurasian Echoes is a work connecting the cultures of Asia and Europe and was performed in Japan, Korea, and Singapore. Ombak Hitam was an event produced for the opening ceremony of the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum and the Za-Koenji Public Theatre in Tokyo. In 1994 he was invited to the International Contrabass Festival in Avignon, France. Since then, he has frequently visited Europe and performed with artists such as Michel Doneda and Barre Phillips. He was asked by the Kanagawa Philharmonic to compose and perform two double concerti. Additionally, he made five television programs about improvisation for Japanese public broadcaster NHK. He has also judged dance events, been a guest lecturer at Sophia and Waseda Universities, and performed and led workshops together with disabled performing artists. He has been a featured performer and led workshops at Contrabass Festivals around the world. In 2007 he founded the label Travessia which as of 2016 has produced 20 CDs and DVDs."

-Tetsu Saitoh Website (

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

Track Listing:

1. Une Chance Pour L'Ombre 22:03

2. A Chance For Shade 27:51

Related Categories of Interest:

Free Improvisation
Before April-2006
Improvised Music
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Japanese & Asian Improv/Rock
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Stringed Instruments
Percussion & Drums
Free Improvisation
Before April-2006

Search for other titles on the label:
Les Disques Victo.

Recommended & Related Releases:
Studio Dan / Michel Doneda
Fanfare III
Battus, Pascal / Michel Doneda
Nakatani, Tatsuya & Michel Doneda
Derome, Jean / Le Quan Ninh
(Tour de Bras)
Doneda, Michael
Anatomie des clefs
Bosetti / Doneda / Rainey
Places dans l'air
Other Recommended Releases:
Doneda, Michel / Frederic Blondy / Tetsu Saitoh
Spring Road 16
(Relative Pitch)
Doneda, Michel
(Tour de Bras)
Phillips, Barre
Thirty Years In Between [2 CDs]
(Les Disques Victo)
Doneda, Michel / Le Quan Ninh
Thirty Ways To Avoid Talking
(Relative Pitch)
Doneda, Michel
Everybody Digs Michel Doneda
(Relative Pitch)
Doneda, Michel / Joris Ruhl
(Umlaut Records)

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought:
Merzbow / Arcane Device
Merzbow & Arcane Device
(Important Records)
Oxley, Tony
Unreleased (1974 to 2016)
Bisio, Michael Quartet (w/ Berger / Maneri / Dickey)
(Tao Forms)
Marteau Rouge / Keiji Haino
Concert 2009
(Fou Records)
Sassetti, Bernardo Trio
Culturgest, 2007
(Clean Feed)
Fujiwara's, Tomas Triple Double
(Firehouse 12 Records)
Fernandez, Agusti / Rafal Mazur
Correspondence With No Words
(Not Two)
Leandre, Joelle
At Souillac en Jazz
(Ayler Records)
Arcane Device
Circuit Dreams
Judson Trio (Leandre / Maneri / Cleaver)
Light And Dance [2 CDs]
Taylor, Cecil Quintet (feat. Harri Sjostrom / Tristan Honsinger / Teppo Hauta-aho / Paul Lovens)
Lifting The Bandstand
(Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))
Various Artists
Sharp, Elliott Presents I Never Metaguitar 5: Solo Guitars For The 21st Century
Abrams', Joshua Cloud Script
Cloud Script
Sugimoto, Taku / Takashi Masubuchi
Live At Otooto & Permian

The Squid's Ear Magazine

The Squid's Ear Magazine

© 2002-, Squidco LLC