The Squid's Ear Magazine


Leandre / Minton: Leandre / Minton (Fou Records)

Phil Minton started as a trumpeter and became one of free improv's most outside vocalists; Joelle Leandre is a double bassist who also performs free vocal improv; this is their first recorded collaboration, and it's an unusual and wonderful album of heavy tone improvisation, plucked and bowed, and a masterfully odd free association of vocalisation.
 

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Joelle Leandre-contrebasse, voice

Phil Minton-voice


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UPC: 3491570054420

Label: Fou Records
Catalog ID: FR-CD24
Squidco Product Code: 24797

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2017
Country: France
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at 19 rue Paul Fort, in Paris, France, on October 8th, 2016, by Jean-Marc Foussat.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"When it comes to free-improvisation you most likely don't need more than the surnames of French double bass master Joëlle Léandre and British vocal master Phil Minton. The front cover of their first-ever recorded duo betrays no other information besides the surname and an incidental photo of sky.

Actually, you need nothing more. Just mentioning the surnames of these elder statespersons of free-improvisation (Léandre was crowned earlier this year as a French knight, member of the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres) together is enough. Their names alone act as a powerful incantation, and you, the listener, already know that you had better surrender. Surrender fully to the beautiful, elusive art of creating-improvising-composing in the moment.

Léandre and Minton were captured playing live in Paris in October 2016. The inside cover quotes influential Dadaist poet, essayist and performance artist Tristan Tzara's (1896-1963) poem L'homme approximatif, chant VI. And, indeed, this live recording - as can be seen in the attached you-tube video - radiates a similar anarchist spirit, one that defies all conventions and conceptions.

The recording is divided into three, koan-like titles, the 32-minutes "Si,lence" and the shorter "is" and "blu,ish". "Si,lence" brings together the hyperactive, trains of thoughts, associations and ideas of Léandre and Minton. Both are wandering through abstract, free-associative textures, chatting and sharing obscene secrets in undecipherable languages, losing their minds and way in colorful-psychedelic labyrinths and sudden rhythms and totally enjoying this close, busy improvisation. Léandre's associative operatic-conversational-vocalizations are answered beautifully by Minton and both sound as not only as master improvisers but also as experienced performance artists-actors who know how to win bemused audiences with their nuanced weird stories and their unique physical performances.

Minton opens the following, short "is" with suggestive bird calls, whistling and singing fragmented melodies. Léandre's surprisingly economic and disciplined playing puts some order to his ornithological stream of vocalizations, but eventually joins Minton's playful attempt to lure as many birds as possible to their stage. "bluish" proves again and again that Léandre and Minton play as inseparable twins, communicating instantly and telepathically. Both transform any idea, strange and bizarre as it may, into a colorful, ecstatic operatic act, and this one even ends with few symbolic snores.

Magnificent!"-Eyal Hareuveni, The Free Jazz Collective


Get additional information at The Free Jazz Collective

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 (https://www.joelle-leandre.com/biography/2/)
12/4/2023

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

"Phil Minton comes from Torquay. He played trumpet and sang with the Mike Westbrook Band in the early 60s- Then in dance and rock bands in Europe for the later of part of the decade. He returned to England in 1971, rejoining Westbrook and was involved in many of his projects until the mid 1980's.

For most of the last forty years, Minton has been working as a improvising singer in lots of groups, orchestras, and situations, all over the place. Numerous composers have written music especially for his extended vocal techniques. He has a quartet with Veryan Weston, Roger Turner and John Butcher, and ongoing duos, trios and quartets with above and many other musicians.

Since the eighties, His Feral Choir, where he voice-conducts workshops and concerts for anyone who wants to sing, has performed in over twenty countries."

-Phil Minton Website (https://www.philminton.co.uk/8-2/)
12/4/2023

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


Track Listing:



1. Si, lence 31:42

2. Is 7:31

3. Blu, ish 6:10

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Stringed Instruments
Unusual Vocal Forms
Duo Recordings

Search for other titles on the label:
Fou Records.


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