TS007

Incandescences
The European Duo:
Joëlle Léandre & Giorgio Occhipinti

Their nine-part 50-minute excursion is beautiful in the way Francis Bacon’s paintings were, which is to say they draw you in only to amaze you and trigger reflections on being drawn in.
Andrew Bartlett

THE EUROPEAN DUO - INCANDESCENCES

1) Part One
2) Part Two
3) Part Three (Occhipinti)
4) Part Four
5) Part Five
6) Part Six
7) Part Seven (Léandre)
8) Part Eight
9) Part Nine

All compositions by Joëlle Léandre and Giorgio Occhipinti except where indicated

Joëlle Léandre: double bass, voice
Giorgio Occhipinti: piano

recorded at Wijnendale Castle, Torhout (Belgium), May 25, 1997 by Jos Demol

art work: Jean Bilquin

SOME REVIEWS:

“Que ceux qui cantonneraient la contrebassiste Joëlle Léandre en figure de la ‘free music’ dans ses liens avec les musiques sérielles, dodécaphoniques et atonales écoutent attentivement Part One ou Part Six, deux des sept échanges de ce disque avec le pianiste Giorgio Occhipinti. Léandre joue en ‘walking bass’ dans la tradition. Ce jazz-là, dorénavant classique, c’est aussi ça culture, son vécu. C’est ce qui lui permet de prendre des chemins de traverses, ailleurs, hors du tempo, dans l’exploration des timbres, des matières (Part Two), tout en réinscrivant son jeu dans un travail mélodique, lyrique, sinueux (Part Four). Léandre en duo, c’est toujours la générosité, l’écoute de l’autre. Giorgio Occhipinti, la trentaine, Sicilien, rappelle le passage du romantisme du XIXe siècle vers le dépouillement du XXe. Son jeu réactif, contrepoint rythmique permanent, constitue une proposition à aller de l’avant autant qu’à tirer profit de l’expérience de Léandre. La musique improvisée nécessite un rapport d’attention extrême. Il est ici artistiquement fructueux et rejaillit sur chacune des pièces que les deux musiciens jouent en solo. *** ”
Sylvain Siclier in “Jazzman” (France), December 1999

“The European Duo, c’est Joëlle Léandre, bassiste française bien connue, prête à toutes les expériences, et Giorgio Occhipinti, jeune pianiste sicilien, auteur des thèmes du CD, lui aussi se frottant à ce qu’on appelle l’improvisation européenne avec une maestria peu commune. Il pcède souvent par courtes phrases dans lesquelles passe un stride affolant et époustouflant. Il joue aussi sur une pulsation induite avec un véritable travail orchestral à la main gauche. C’est lui qui fonda ce duo en 1995, c’est à dire que les deux musiciens sont en osmose totale. Il y a du blues parfois chez Joëlle Léandre. Musique exubérante de la déconstruction, voire du chaos, qui sort du cadre traditionnel du jazz, mais qui n’en est pas moins belle et dérangeante, c’est à dire qu’elle fait poser des questions. A vous de trouver lesquelles. Quant aux réponses, elles doivent être dans la musique.”
Serge Baudot in “Jazz Hot” (France), February 2000

“La tensión entre su piano solemne y el bajo espaciado y percusivo de Léandre tiene momentos de excepción en su parte cuarta. Su densidad merece estudio y dedicación. ”
A. Gómez Aparicio in “Cuadernos De Jazz” (Spain), January/February 2000

“Incandescences is a piano/bass duo that is at its best when it’s on fire, and that’s often on this disc. Occhipinti grabs attention immediately, playing with a sophistication, refined precision, and raw energy that recalls Stravinsky’s little-known piano music. Indeed, he seems at times during these duets (and Part Three, his solo showcase) to be making explicit reference to Stravinsky pieces like ‘Sonata’, ‘Piano Rag Music’, ‘Tango’ and ‘Circus Polka’. Of course, he doesn’t play the inside of the piano on Part Eight (accompanied by Léandre’s intriguing vocalise) only to demonstrate that he has encompassed more contemporary developments - that’s clear from his playing throughout.
Listening to Occhipinti is like flying in a 747 with a stunt pilot at the helm: who would have known that this big lumbering beast could turn on a dime? Yet Occhipinti hammers away, making an immense sound, and then suddenly sweeps into an elegant whisper and back again, leaving one breathless and dazzled. Léandre, meanwhile, is a perfect match for him, for her energy, agility, and versatility are deservedly legendary, and are abundantly illustrated here. She displays a great range of percussive effects - perhaps in response to the power of Occhipinti’s playing - but her bowing is the real treat here, wonderfully accenting the depth of Occhipinti’s lines even at their most declamatory. Recommended. ”
Robert Spencer in “Cadence” (U.S.A.), May 2000

“ In classic, as well as in jazz music, there are very rare occasions for the double bass to excel. Very few solo works have been composed for this instrument. The Finnish composers have, in fact, considerably improved the situation. Teppo Hauta-aho’s works are very popular in solo recitals and at auditions. Rautavaara has even composed a bass concerto especially for Esko Laine. The Bass player, of whom many well-intended jokes circulate, is, along with the percussionist, classified as the musician’s reliable support in the background. The young Sicilian pianist, Occhipinti, and the apparently slightly older bassist Ms Léandre (Belgian? French?) have now filled a gap, and have in Belgium made a completely improvised live CD-recording for bass and piano, which strikes me as being absolutely unique. Contrary to popular belief, the double bass is a very versatile box. You can even play polyphonic, beautiful melodies, or normal or flutelike sound; you can rub it, scratch it and bang it; you can pluck it, finger it and flick it; accompany melodies and, of course, produce a variety of exotic sounds. With it you can discover quite different sounds than offered by the normal clavier (compare to the limitations of a string bass!). And Joëlle really does all of this, ecstatically, sensitively, furiously, seething with rhythm and invitingly tranquil. If this goes on, the bass player jokes are out! But this is no jazz! Or is it? And then, on the other hand, there has to be some swing in Bach and Mozart, too! Perhaps that is jazz as well? The sound that this duo produces is funny, it swings, it entices the imagination. There is musical communication between them that challenges the partner, and it certainly is not boring.
Stravinsky, Vivaldi, ragtime, Cecil Taylor, Irène Schweizer, they all flash by, in synergy. And you will certainly find jazz, especially in the sound effects produced by Joël. This, indeed, is no Kiri Te Kanawa! This recoding proves that in order to achieve the freedom of serious modern music one does not need the brass, and certainly not any strings. We highly recommend it, no, we actually force it on each and everyone, who is interested in all sorts of music. And also to the others. Without reservations.”
Heikki Tegelman in ”Jazzrytmit” (Finland), 14.10.1999

”A CD recorded in 1997 that brings us a product in which the dialogues between instruments go through very different states and situations. On a different level, monologues are reserved as spaces intended for a clear and specific displaying of each musician Which, in the case of Occhipinti, comprises narratives which include memories of and fond feelings for Stravinsky, Ravel, Taylor or Irène Schweitzer.”
Francis Monroe in ”Hurly Burly” (Spain), 11/2000

”De Siciliaanse pianist Giorgio Occhipinti en de Franse contrabassiste Joëlle Léandre vormen sinds 1995 een opmerkelijk duo. Los van alle stijlvormen en conventies, maakt dit duo geïmproviseerde muziek, die thuis hoort in de Europese avant-garde. Occhipinti betoont verwantschap met de Zwitserse pianiste Irène Schweizer en kan met enige moeite ook aan Cecil Taylor gelinkt worden. De wat oudere Léandre heeft al heel wat ervaring, maar is hier vooral bekend van duoprestaties met Irène Schweizer. Zij is hier in de meeste gevallen de ”spelbepalende” figuur, die in Giorgio Occhipinti een leuke, creatieve partner gevonden heeft. Alle mogelijkheden van hun instrument worden ten volle benut. Beiden houden van een vrij percussieve aanpak, vaak met inzet van lijf en leden. Maar ook andere middelen tot expressie worden niet ongemoeid gelaten. De stem van Joëlle Léandre speelt soms een wezenlijke rol in deze muziek. Het is voor minder geoefende oren wellicht wat wennen, maar deze muziek is levendig en boeiend door de spontane expressiviteit en de vitale en humoristische trekjes.”
Luc De Baets in “Het Nieuwsblad” (Belgium), 25.09.1999

“In 1995 liepen de Franse bassiste Joëlle Léandre en de Siciliaanse pianovirtuoos Giorgio Occhipinti van stapel met het European Duo, een ambitieuze naam, maar verdiend. In mei ’97 namen zij in het kasteel van Wijnendale te Torhout de cd ‘Incandescences’ op: een suite van negen delen, door beiden gecomponeerd. Joëlle Léandre (°1951) behaalde een eerste prijs aan het conservatorium, en speelde samen met de belangrijkste Europese free musici als Derek Bailey, Evan Parker en Annick Nozati, en de Amerikanen Barre Phillips, George Lewis en Butch Morris. In de States trad ze aan met John Cage (1981) en Anthony Braxton (1983). Ook triomfeerde zij in ’93 op het festival van Mulhouse met ‘Les Trois Dames’ (plus Annick Nozati en Irène Schweizer). Giorgio Occhipinti (°1969) vormde met Guarrella in ’89 het ‘December Thirty Jazz Trio’ en stichtte vier jaar geleden het ‘Hereo Nonetto’, dat leidde tot ‘The Kaos Legend’.
In de onderhavige spontane sessie bereiken zij werkelijk pieken van geïmproviseerde muziek. Léandre beschikt over een enorme technische virtuositeit, precisie, kracht en zin voor humor, zowel arco als pizzicato. Onvoorstelbaar hoe ze hier haar instrument expoilteert, martelt en vleit, lyriek en explosiviteit, vol onmogelijke technische effecten. Zij dubbelt bij momenten met haar stem, kreten en vocalisen, lijnen zelfs. Occhipinti is een uitstekend pianist, die zowel naar de jazztraditie en zijn grote voorlopers (Cecil Taylor), als naar de 20e-eeuwse ‘klassieke’ componisten luisterde. Hij drukt zich nu eens pensatief, dan weer in continue eruptieve frasen uit, steeds helder van aanslag en pianistiek hoogstaand. De verstandhouding tussen beiden is voorbeeldig. De cd wordt dan ook warm aanbevolen aan alle free freaks!”
Juul Anthonissen in ‘Juul’s halo’ (Belgium), November/December 1999

“The European Duo noemen Joëlle Léandre (bas, stem) en Giorgio Occhipinti (piano) zich. Ze laten zich inspireren door uitgeschreven passages, patronen en bouwen de stukken vaak gelijkmatig op. Er zijn echo’s van klassieke muziek, repetitieve passages, stille momenten en helse uitbarstingen. Dit duoformaat is een goede manier om dit soort muziek te beluisteren, het is live (een concert in Torhout) en de communicatie tussen de twee is duidelijk gerodeerd. Deze muziek kan ook op plaat gesavoureerd worden.”
Gerry De Mol in ‘Knack Agenda’ (Belgium), October 1999

“Léandre’s strings sing and Occhipinti’s keys sparkle on their very engrossing duet on ’Incandescences’. The two have been playing as the European Duo since 1995, and the empathy in their jointure is immediately evident. This concert was made in a Belgium castle, and the vibes must have been perfect for the two on that night. Léandre is able to coax a fat sound from her bass in the pizzicato mode. The notes seem to leap from her instrument in large gulps that bounce around the room. Her passion for the more frequently used arco style provides just as much stimulation. Whether she is bowing in the lowest register or eking out high-pitched squeaks, she produces music that is stimulating and innovative. Occhipinti is a free and open pianist, yet his improvisations have a thread of substance that knit his explorations together into a tangible mass. He is all over the keys in a mad dash of excitement that has a logical progression to it. There is nothing random in his playing. His improvising fits together the way a puzzle unfolds in its solving.
As individualistic as the two artists are, their combined playing produces magical moments. Their efforts emerge as a unit, with neither seeming to be a leader or a follower. They both anticipate the desired direction and steer the compatible course that allows them to move as one through the intricate maze of freely improvised passages. When Léandre gets excited during particularly energized segments, she slips into her noted voice-over-bass mode with non-word self accompaniment. Although the technique is used very sparingly, it has a tendency to break the hypnotic spell that she so carefully conjured up to that point. The two quickly recast the mood with interactive playing to allow one to slip back easily into their mesmerizing world. Léandre and Occhipinti have perfected the art of the duet, and together they spin a fascinating web of intriguing music.”
Frank Rubolino in ‘Cadence’, 01/2001

“It should come as no surprise that Joëlle Léandre and Giorgio Occhipinti have scant use for the tradition of piano and bass duets. Léandre throatily sings a tad here, rumbles thunderously there, and Occhipinti roils and plinks and splays the notes all over the place. What they come up with is a nervy, captivating highwire walk filled with thick lows and highs that verge on being incisive. Their nine-part 50-minute excursion is beautiful in the way Francis Bacon’s paintings were, which is to say they draw you in only to amaze you and trigger reflections on being drawn in.”
Andrew Bartlett in ’Coda Magazine’ (Canada, January/February 2001)

"At 50, Joëlle Léandre is one of the towering musicians of her generation. Ryoji Hojito, a longterm collaborator with Otomo Yoshihide, is a remarkably tactile pianist whose precise touch on the keyboard and measured delving into the in tenor are as communicative as the notes he plays. The vastly experienced bassist clearly recognises something special in this meeting and is determinated to mark the occasion with emphatic playing, especially with the bow. A shared sound world is established immediately; Intimate yet rigorous investigations follow, with room for laughter.
In his sleeve notes for ‘Incandescences’ Bertrand Serra says, ‘These two musicians are too alike to simply mirror one another’, it’s a neat paradox and perfectly apt: Léandre and Occhipinti have been working as The European Duo since 1995. The pianist from Sicily, is rising in stature (this live recording dates from 1997). His style is restless, showering sparks, flurries and allusions. It’s often disjunctive, skipping ingical connections and making bold leaps across the keyboard’s expanse. He matches the bass virtuoso in the confidence of his soloing. Léandre is recorded less graphically close here, but assured improvising and lightning responsiveness justify the album’s title. ”
Julian Cowley (July 2001) in “The Wire” (UK)

"Quali sono gli elementi comuni a questi due CD? Joëlle Léandre, la documentazione di due concerti di musica improvvisata (registrati rispettivamente il 25 maggio 1997 e il 21 luglio dello stesso anno) e...la Sicilia: il pianista Giorgio Occhipinti, infatti, è nativo di Ragusa; il trombonista Sebi Tramontana di Rosolini (non lontano da Siracusa).
Léandre è una straordinaria virtuosa del contrabbasso, con trascorsi nell'Ensemble Intercontemporaine di Boulez, dedicataria e esecutrice di brani di autori come Cage, Scelsi, Bussotti, Druckman (per quanto riguarda questo repertorio, si consiglia l'ascolto di Contrebasse et voix, uscito nel 1988 per la ADDA e il più recente John Cage, pubblicato da Montaigne nel 1996, in cui spicca una stupenda versione di Ryoanji, nonché di recenti incisioni giapponesi). Né può dimenticarsi la pluriennale attività nel campo della libera improvvisazione: fra le collaborazioni più recenti si segnalano il trio Les Diaboliques - con Irene Schweitzer e Maggie Nichols - le compagini più o meno stabili con Marylin Crispell, Fritz Hauser e Urs Leimbruger (vedi il buon Quartet Noir), le esibizioni in duo con Carlos Zingaro, Tetsu Saitoh, Derek Bailey.
Quanto ai due nuovi "compagni di viaggio", il poco più che trentenne Occhipinti, oltre ad essere membro del Sud Ensemble di Pino Minafra, guida formazioni di diversa ampiezza, aperte al confronto dialettico fra diverse forme di espressione musicale (quali l'Hereo Nonetto - estensibile anche a tentetto - ed il Faust Group, con il quale si dedica alla sonorizzazione dal vivo di storici films muti) cimentandosi, peraltro, anche nella musica da camera (sono di recente composizione le sequenze per quartetto d'archi e per due violoncelli).
Il percorso artistico di Tramontana si muove, invece, prevalentemente nell'ambito della musica improvvisata radicale: dopo gli studi con Giancarlo Schiaffini, essa si è sviluppata attraverso incontri con eccellenti strumentisti - Georg Graewe, Paul Lovens, Evan Parker, Barry Guy fra gli altri - sino alla partecipazione allo Xaxa Quartet - comprendente lo stesso Lovens, Mats Gustafson e Phil Wachsmann - e alla prestigiosa Italian Instabile Orchestra.
La differente estrazione musicale dei due italiani si manifesta appieno nell'approccio all'improvvisazione: mentre Occhipinti attinge a materiali desunti dall'idioma jazzistico e a scampoli di letteratura classica, integrandoli in un unicum organico, Tramontana sembra piuttosto rifuggire o, tutt'al più, decontestualizzare codici musicali prestabiliti, inserendone, con intenzione parodistica, alcuni frammenti all'interno del flusso improvvisativo.
Apprezzabile, in entrambi i CD, è il tentativo di superare l'atteggiamento rigorosamente antiidiomatico (quantomeno negli intenti), peculiare a tanta musica improvvisata: un approccio che affiora nel recente Joëlle Léandre Project, con Crispell, Lovens, Teitelbaum e Zingaro.
La sintesi fra linguaggi differenti appare meglio raggiunta nel CD con il pianista: non mancano, in Incandescences, momenti in cui la sensibilità costruttiva di Occhipinti si compenetra con la rapsodica intuitività della Léandre; esemplari il brano n. 6 (apprezzabile per le funamboliche evoluzioni fra seconda scuola di Vienna e Thelonius Monk) ed il n. 8, ove, via via che l'archetto - nel cui uso Léandre vanta un'indiscutibile perizia - si inerpica verso vellutati sovracuti, giungono, appropriate, le eco di cetra sparse dal piano preparato.
Al ragusano può muoversi l'appunto di incorrere, a tratti, in una sorta di horror vacui: un'ansia affabulatoria grava, talora, con un eccesso di note e di suoni, il dialogo con la francese. Non avrebbe nuociuto, forse, una maggiore profondità di ascolto.
Rimane, in ogni caso, intatta la validità di un progetto che promette interessanti sviluppi, specie se Occhipinti acquisterà al proprio linguaggio una più spiccata essenzialità e spoglierà di non necessari orpelli intuizioni comunque originali.
Mentre l'effetto-sorpresa è la caratteristica più interessante di Incandescences e l'interazione fra i musicisti ne costituisce l'aspetto meno riuscito, potrebbe dirsi il contrario con riguardo a È vero. La più che ventennale esperienza nel campo della libera improvvisazione consente, infatti, a ciascun musicista di interagire istantaneamente con l'altro, grazie alla costante attenzione per l'equilibrio timbrico e dinamico; talvolta affiora, nondimeno, una certa prevedibilità, di tanto in tanto vinta da eleganti squarci lirici e dalle trovate onomatopeiche di Tramontana alle quali la contrabbassista risponde con pertinenza (nel brano 8, infatti, si ascolta una straniante improvvisazione "fischiettata"!). Nettamente diverso è, poi, il clima espressivo globale: mentre nel disco con Occhipinti era l'esuberante comunicatività il tratto caratterizzante, questo CD è abitatao da un'atmosfera intimistica e brumosa, in cui convivono ironia e malinconia, lirico spirito blues e gags spiazzanti, ma mai sopra le righe.
Anche questo disco va dunque apprezzato, sia per gli spunti melodici mai banali, sia per le eccellenti soluzioni timbriche che i due sanno escogitare all'istante, come quelle inventate da Tramontana, abilissimo nell'impiego della sordina.
Una menzione particolare meritano, infine, le improvvisazioni in solitudine della musicista francese, capace, grazie a un'incredibile capacità di concentrazione, sia di immergersi negli anfratti più riposti del sé e dello strumento, sia di ascendere verso dardeggianti luminescenze acute (originate dalla sollecitazione delle corde del contrabbasso o di quelle vocali, grazie alle quali viene in evidenza un caratteristico timbro sopranile).
La Léandre, in conclusione, si conferma musicista versatilissima, sempre in grado di entrare in dialogo con il corpo (proprio e del contabbasso, che con il primo diventa realmente tutt'uno) e con la realtà circostante (si tratti del canto del trombone o del pianoforte, ovvero degli uccelli udibili nel brano n. 7 di Incandescences, tutto pervaso di poeticissimo mono no aware)
Questo termine, intraducibile in italiano, indica l'ideale estetico tipico di tutta la letteratura giapponese del periodo Heian (794-1185): “una disposizione d'animo, una sympatheia verso la realtà, che permette di comprendere la bellezza, e nel contempo la caducità delle meravglie della natura e del suo manifestarsi nell'arte” (Daniele Sestili, Musica e danza del principe Genji, Roma, LIM, 1996, p. 5)”
Valutazioni: Incandescences: * * *
È vero: * * *
Ermes Rosina in AllAboutJazz.com, 01/2001

“Old-school Euro-freedom meets something else altogether. Occhipinti’s own very accurately described by Philip Clark in issue 20 of this very organ, so kindly refer to that review (it’s on page 40) then try to imagine all the musical and stylistic acrobatics referred to therein being boiled down into an improvisational aesthetic. Occhipinti’s approach to the piano in this context is a bizarre hybrid of those of Misha Mengelberg and Percy Grainger. It’s called ‘Steve Beresford’. Well, ni, that’s not quite right either, but this kind of confusion is always fun to encounter and there’s never enough of it about.
This situation is obviously attractive to Léandre, who is able to exercise the quasi-love-hate relationship that she has with her instrument to glorious excess, hacking and trashing at the instrument as if it were a patch of unruly undergrowth. At one point she seems to put it down and walk away from it in disgust. That said, Occhipinti’s only real fault is his tendency to get carried away by his own adrenaline, leaving the bassist with a can’t-get-a-word-in accompanist’s role. You can almost hear her sulking when this happens, but that’s fun too.
Art collectors will also enjoy the silk-screened false cover, a near-perfect miniature by Jean Bilquin which can be slipped out to reveal a bog-standard printed version underneath. Suitable for framing, as they say, were it not marred by the presence of the cover typography. In any event, anything which can improve on the inherent dullness of CD packaging has to be a good idea.”
Roger Thomas in Jazz Review (UK)

“Normaliter zijn ze, samen met de drum, de stabiliteit biedende elementen in een jazzensemble: de piano legt de harmonische basis, waarbij de bas het geheel ondersteunt. Hoe flexibel kan zo'n duo dan klinken als het er alleen voor staat? Voor het European Duo van de Franse bassiste Joëlle Léandere en de Italiaanse pianist Giorgio Occhipinti is het op 'Incandescences' (de opnames dateren uit 1997) ongeveer zo samen te vatten: neem de grootst mogelijk denkbare rekbaarheid, kwadrateer die en nog zal het duo er vlot voorbij gaan. Léandere en Occhipinti spelen hier namelijk geen muzikaal tikkertje waarbij de ene wegdraait en de ander er achter holt. De manier waarop ze hier op elkaar reageren, vaak op de kleinste details, is zo razendsnel dat ze beiden haast tegelijkertijd dezelfde muzikale beweging maken. Vooral in 'Part One' lijkt het wel alsof ze een vooraf uitgeschreven partituur interpreteren, hoewel de muziek vaak heel speels en spontaan blijft.
Zoals ze geen gemakkelijke voorzetten van elkaar nodig hebben om de stukken te laten ontwikkelen, zo maken ze zich er ook niet vanaf met opvallend grote contrasten, noch met het uitwisselen van thema's of ritmische motieven. De twee lijken daarentegen perfect te weten waar de ander naartoe wil, zodat de verschillende stukken volwaardige verhalen zijn die ergens vertrekken en ergens naar toe gaan. Daarenboven wordt de luisteraar niet buitengesloten. Integendeel: hij of zij wordt zelfs uitgenodigd om het duidelijk te volgen parcours en de gedachtegangen mee af te leggen. Het wordt zo tegelijkertijd uitdagend en doenbaar om de muziek te volgen, terwijl die van 'zweverig' naar een vastere vorm overgaat of net andersom. In 'Part Six' wordt dit proces dan nog eens extra aantrekkelijk gemaakt door herkenbare referenties. Een pianowolk van herhaalde tonen wordt in een walsje omgebogen, waarna een walking bass van Léandre vergezeld wordt van een jazzy pianopartij van Occhipinti. Wanneer de bas geleidelijk aan gaat haperen laat de piano het geheel mee afglijden om later terug te keren naar een zachte swing waarbij alleen nog een schuifelende drum ontbreekt.
Wanneer het op expliciete verwijzingen aankomt is de Italiaan herkenbaarder dan de Française, wat niet verwonderlijk is aangezien het pianorepertoire voor het modale publiek herkenbaarder is dan de contrabastraditie. In 'Part Three' krijgt Occhipinti de track voor zich alleen, waar hij gretig gebruik van maakt om zijn vocabularium te demonstreren: een mars à la Stravinsky, hoempa stride jazz, ragtime, een wals, zweverig impressionisme, muziek voor stomme films en repetitieve momenten passeren allemaal. Bij Léandre vallen dan weer vooral de verwijzingen naar Arabisch aandoende thema's op: heel zangerig als een meditatie in 'Part Four' of iets meer experimenteel in haar solostuk 'Part Seven'. Hier komen alle mogelijke facetten van haar strijk- en pizzicatospel aan bod, waarbij het fascinerend is om te horen hoe ze een inzet van een Arabische melodie naadloos laat overgaan in piepen en knarsen.
Wanneer dit onconventionelere ook door Occhipinti wordt overgenomen en de instrumenten percussief aangewend worden, klinkt de muziek veel abstracter. Het uitnodigende ervan verdwijnt echter nooit en de communicatie blijft: onderling en met de luisteraar.”
Koen Van Meel (www.kwadratuur.be dd. 16/04/2004)

“Pianists often seem to have the weight of the classical tradition on their shoulders, just like saxophonists have the jazz greats looking over theirs. Here are releases which, in different ways, seem to engage with that tradition without being weighed down by it. Although Occhipinti is a young jazz pianist, his playing here with Leandre has strongly classical, ven Classical, resonances. The whole thing can often sound like a sonata for double bass and piano, conceived by a delirious Hindemith. If that doesn't sound much like a compliment, it is. These two create wonderfully rich chordal structures, finding a place somewhere between functional harmony, jazz and atonality with not a note agreed in advance. Occhipinti is great at varying the levels of density in his playing, a concept which his partner for this session understands only too well. And just as the music can range from big, loud chording to light, detailed playing, so it also covers the ground between the melodic and almost soothing right through to (occasional) blasting or insectoid improv. Those who don't know this pianist's work are urged to check this out; it's very impressive, and Leandre, always a valuable duettist, works wonderfully with him throughout.”
Richard Cochrane in Musings

“Realizadas desde planteamientos y estéticas muy distintas, he aquí dos muestras de piano y contrabajo publicadas en el pequeño y magnífico sello belga Jazz´halo. La primera, conversación musical de Joëlle Léandre con el siciliano Giorgio Occhipinti (desde 1995 actúan como The European Duo) es conducida felizmente por ambientes que recorren paisajes de diáfano, amplio contenido, que nunca vacíos; al contrario, abiertos de par en par y con la complicidad y maestría de una experta partenaire como es la contrabajista. Aparecen momentos románticos, líricos, recordatorios de los Ravel, Stravinsky, y también herederos del más insidioso Cecil Taylor (escucha el tema en solo, por ejemplo). Fue el disco que dió a conocer a Occhipinti en Europa.
El dúo con el japonés Ryoji Hojito se plantea, previamente, desde el piano preparado. El ambiente está mucho más encorsetado, la conversación es más seria, sin perder la libertad de rehacer continuamente, sin posibilidad de retorno ni de mirar atrás. Es terreno propicio al cluster, a la espontánea tonalidad, a la insistencia en determinadas claves... Estos diez duetos en vivo, desde Sapporo, acaban con el humor de la última pieza que el público interrumpe con risas y aplausos: una improvisada alternancia de monosílabos bilingües adornados con escasas notas. Otra fantástica historia, hecha realidad, con un pianista principalmente consolidado en su continente.
La comodidad de Joëlle cuando toca en dúo, y en estos en concreto tan diferentes, está muy de manifiesto: su contrabajo alterna, construye y de-construye cuando apetece, lleva y trae hasta el máximo las cuerdas, que revierten en nuevos sonidos. La contrabajista estuvo una larga temporada en Japón en 1998, trabajando con diversos músicos, con distintas formaciones y con varios discos publicados en diferentes sellos.
Posteriormente a estas grabaciones, Jazz´halo ha publicado a Occhipinti un disco con su noneto Hereo, y este mismo año a Joëlle Léandre un doble en solo (Concerto Grosso).”
Chema Chacón in Oro Molido

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Special thanks to our photographers:

Annie Boedt
Henning Bolte

Cedric Craps
Christian Deblanc

Koen Deleu
Ferdinand Dupuis-Panther
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Hugo Lefèvre

Jacky Lepage
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Jan Vernieuwe

and to our writers:

Robin Arends
Henning Bolte
Danny De Bock
Ferdinand Dupuis-Panther
Paul Godderis
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Bernard Lefèvre
Claude Loxhay
Etienne Payen
Herman te Loo
Georges Tonla Briquet
Iwein Van Malderen