Monday, February 11, 2008

Artists: Joëlle Léandre

On the subject of European contemporary jazz and artists who principally contribute(d) to its development and maturation, one can’t omit mentioning Joëlle Léandre.
An amazing artistic path, plenty of encounters/collaborations with significant composers/performers, a remarkable discography over more than twenty-five years, make her an absolute protagonist of the innovation in music.
So this post is for Joëlle.

Date Of Birth: September 12, 1951, Aix-en-Provence, France

Joëlle Léandre started playing recorder but quickly moved to piano and from the age of 9 to 14 studied both piano and double bass in her home town of Aix-en-Provence. Her double bass teacher, Pierre Delescluse, encouraged her to apply to the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris where she won first prize for double bass. In 1976 she received a scholarship to the Center for Creative and Performing Arts in Buffalo, a time that was to prove particularly influential due to encounters with Morton Feldman, and the music of Earl Brown, John Cage and Giacinto Scelsi. At the same time, she was able to experience the downtown New York music scene and continue her involvement in improvised music.

Joëlle Léandre has continued to be involved with contemporary 'straight' music, not only as a member of contemporary music ensembles such as 2E2M, Itinéraire and l'Ensemble Intercontemporain but particularly through the works of Cage and Scelsi, several of which have been recorded by her. Of Cage, she told Machart (1994):

"He will always be my spiritual father. I had already read For the birds before meeting him. It is an important book. John made me listen to the world around me: 'Let sound be what it is'. He opened up a field of possibilities; he gave me confidence; he cooked for me (he was a very good cook), with his friend Cunningham; he was good. A friend. He was the first to smile when I played my piece Taxi in the hall at Columbia University - I can still remember it!"

And, to the same interviewer on Scelsi:

"Another meeting; as important as meeting Cage; he respected the freedom of my actions; there was almost a feminine intimacy between us. His music overwhelmed me; it is one of the truest, because it speaks to us of our conscience, of our human condition. When I listen to this music it affects me most deeply. There isn't a 'geography' to it; there are waves which we make vibrate. I love to play his several pieces for double bass because they provide me with a complete soundworld. This music is paradoxical because it is at once complex and simple. I have known Scelsi since 1978, in Rome, after a stay at Buffalo University where I discovered Okanagon, one of his most extraordinary pieces. We rapidly became friends. Ten years later, I was there, on the 8 August 1988, at his death. It was as if he just faded away."

After listening to jazz (Mingus, Cecil Taylor, Monk, Dolphy), "I quickly got into the free, improvised realm where, for me, Derek Bailey is extremely important, also George Lewis and Irène Schweizer, and for sure, Anthony Braxton. Meeting Derek in New York several years ago had nearly the same impact on me as meeting Cage" (Kanach, 1991). Léandre recorded with Bailey on Les douze sons and on the Company disc Trios, and has worked with a wide range of improvisors, for example: Maggie Nicols, Lindsay Cooper, Irène Schweizer, Fred Frith, Evan Parker, Eric Watson, Lol Coxhill, Peter Kowald, William Parker (described by Morris (1991)), and Barre Philips. She is a member of the European Women's Improvising Group (recorded on Intakt 002). She has recorded one of the weirdest records (even by free improvising standards) in Les domestiques with Jon Rose - a collection of domestic noises set to musical effect - and more recently has formed The Canvas Trio with long-term associates Rüdiger Carl and Carlos Zingaro.

In 1994 Joëlle Léandre was the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) artist in residence in the city of Berlin; from November 1997 to June 1998 she took up a residence in Metz, north-east France teaching and giving master classes at academic institutions in the region and playing concerts with a range of improvisors that included Eric Watson, Lauren Newton, Carlos Zingaro and Paul Lovens. From September to December 2002 she was invited as visiting professor for improvisation and composition at Mills College, Oakland, California and this was repeated from September to December 2004 when she was visiting Darius Milhaud professor for composition and improvisation at Mills.
(European Free Improvisation - Joëlle Léandre’s webpage)

  • Contrabassiste (1981 QCA Redmark/Liben Records, RML LP8204)
  • Live At The Bastille, (1982, Sync Pulse, Sync Pulse 1789) (w/ Maggie Nicols, Lindsay Cooper)
  • Taxi (1982, Adda, 81043)
  • Les Douze Sons (1983, nato Recordings, nato 82)
  • Paris Quartet (1985/1987, Intakt, Intakt 012)
  • Sincerely (1985, Plainisphare, PL 1267-92/1994)
  • Cordial Gratin (1986, FMP, FMP 1160) (w/ Irène Schweizer)
  • The Storming Of The Winter Palace (1986, Intakt, Intakt CD 003) (w/ Irene Schweizer, Maggie Nicols, George Lewis, Günter Sommer)
  • Contrabasse Et Voix (1987, ADDA, ADDA 581043)
  • Les Domestiques (1987, Konnex, Konnex ST 5019) (w/ Jon Rose)
  • Écritures (1990, In Situ, In Situ 038) (w/ Carlos Zingaro)
  • Urban Bass (1990, L'empreinte digitale, ED 13041)
  • Palimpseste (1991, Hat Hut Records, hat ART 6103 (w/ Eric Watson)
  • Haunting The Spirits Inside Them... (1992, Music & Arts, CD-893) (w/ Vinny Golia, Ken Filiano)
  • Okanagon (1992, Hat Hut Records, hat ART CD 6124) (w/ Giacinto Scelsi)
  • L'Histoire De Mme. Tasco (1992, Hat Hut Records, hat ART 6122) (as Joëlle Léandre's Canvas Trio, w/ Rüdiger Carl, Carlos Zingaro)
  • Les Diaboliques (1993, Intakt, Intakt CD 033) (w/ Irène Schweizer, Maggie Nicols)
  • Blue Goo Park (1993, FMP, FMP CD 52) (w/ Rüdiger Carl)
  • Tracks (1993, Le Parc Music, 512-2) (w/ Mario Schiano, Peter Kowald)
  • Sincerely (1994, Planisphare, PL 1267-92/1994)
  • Joëlle Léandre / Pascal Contet (1994, Grave, GRCD 1) (w/ Pascal Contet)
  • Splitting Image (1994, Intakt, Intakt CD 048) (as Les Diaboliques, w/ Irène Schweizer, Maggie Nicols)
  • Blue Memories (1995, Splasc(h), CD H 449.2) (w/ Mario Schiano, Renato Geremia)
  • No Comment (1995, Red Toucan RT 9313-2)
  • John Cage (1995, Auvidis Montaigne, MO 782076) (w/ Lê Quan Ninh)
  • Not Missing Drums Project (1995, Leo, Lab CD 036) (as Urban Voices, w/ Lauren Newton, Ushci Brüning)
  • Live @ Banlieues Bleues (1996, Red Toucan RT 9306-2) (w/ Georg Graewe, François Houle)
  • 18 Colors (1996, Leo, CD LR 245) (w/ Lauren Newton)
  • Moments (1996, Music & Arts, CD-999) (as Canvas Trio, w/ Rüdiger Carl, Carlos Zingaro)
  • No Try No Fail (1997, Hat Hut Records, hatOLOGY 509) (w/ Urs Leimgruber, Fritz Hauser)
  • Incandescences (1997, Tonesetters/Jazz Halo, TS007) (as The European Duo, w/ Giorgio Occhipinti)
  • Joëlle Et Tetsu (1998, Omba Records, Omba-003CD) (w/ Tetsu Saitoh)
  • No waiting (1998, Potlatch, P198) (w/ Derek Bailey)
  • Contrabasses (1998, Leo, CD LR 261) (w/ William Parker)
  • Short Takes (1998, Egg Farm, EF-005) (w/ Haruna Miyake)
  • Improvisation & Performance (1998, Mesostics, MESCD0001) (w/ Kumi Wakao, Yoko Okada, Yu Wakao)
  • Ryoanji: John Cage Concert In Hiroshima (1998, Mesostics, MESCD0005) (w/ Kumi Wakao)
  • Solo Bass - Live At Otis, Hiroshima (1998, Mesostics, MESCD0007)
  • Sapporo Duets (1998, Tonesetters/Jazz Halo, TS013) (w/ Ryoji Hojito)
  • Quartet Noir (1998, Victo, cd067) (w/ Urs Leimgruber, Marilyn Crispell, Fritz Hauser)
  • Duos 3-13 (1999, For 4 Ears, CD 1034) (w/ Fredy Studer, Jin Hi Kim, Dorothea Schürch)
  • E'vero (1999, Leo, CD LR 275) (w/ Sebi Tramontana)
  • Tricotage (1999, Ambiances Magnétiques, AM 078) (w/ Danielle P. Roger)
  • Dire Du Dire (2000, Rectangle, REC ELLE 2)
  • Joëlle Léandre Project (2000, Leo, CD LR 287) (w/ Marilyn Crispell, Paul Lovens, Richard Teitelbaum, Carlos Zingaro)
  • Live At The Rhinefalls (2000, Intakt, Intakt CD 059) (as Les Diaboliques, w/ Irène Schweizer, Maggie Nicols)
  • c'estça (2000, Red Toucan, RT 9315) (w/ Hasse Poulsen, François Houle)
  • John Cage #4 (2000, Mesostics, MESCD0013) (w/ Kumi Wakao)
  • Joëlle Léandre & Yu Wakao (2000, Mesostics, MESCD0015) (w/ Yu Wakao)
  • Signature: Live At The Egg Farm (2000, Red Toucan, RT 9321) (w/ Masahiko Satoh, Yuji Takahashi)
  • Organic - Mineral (2001, In Situ, IS 235) (w/ Kazue Sawai)
  • Out Of Sound (2001, Leo, CD LR 337) (w/ Lauren Newton, Urs Leimgruber)
  • Timbreplus (2001, ARBE 11) (w/ Lauren Newton, Elisabeth Tuchmann, Oskar Mörth, Bertl Mütter, Fritz Hauser, Urs Leimgruber)
  • 1/2 (2001, No label CDR) (w/ Carlos Zingaro, Sebi Tramontana)
  • Madly You (2002, Potlatch, P102) (w/ Daunik Lazro, Carlos Alves Zingaro, Paul Lovens)
  • The Chicken Check In Complex (2002, Leo, CD LR 340) (w/ Carlos Zingaro, Sebi Tramontana)
  • Passaggio (2002, Intakt, Intakt CD 075) (w/ Sylvie Courvoisier, Susie Ibarra)
  • Ocean Of Earth (2002, Barking Hoop, BKH-007) (w/ Kevin Norton, Tomas Ulrich)
  • Tempted To Smile (2002, Spool, SPL 120/LINE 20) (w/ Fred Frith, Jonathan Segel)
  • No Day Rising (2002, Spool, SPL 121/LINE 21) (w/ Brett Larner, Kazuhisa Uchihashi)
  • Evident (2002, 482 Music, 482-104) (w/ Mark Nauseef)
  • The Space Between (2003, 482 Music, 482-1017) (w/ Philip Gelb, Pauline Oliveros, Dana Reason)
  • After You Gone (2003, Victo, cd091) (w/ Barre Phillips, William Parker, Tetsu Saitoh)
  • Györ (2003, Reqords, REQ001) (w/ Akosh S.)
  • Sur Une Balançoire (2003, Ambiances Magnétiques, AM 126) (w/ Gianni Lenoci)
  • For Flowers (2004, Leo, CD LR 396) (w/ Mat Maneri, Joel Ryan, Christophe Marguet)
  • Firedance (2004, Red Toucan, RT 9327) (w/ India Cooke)
  • Lugano (2005, Victo, cd096) (as Quartet Noir, w/ Urs Leimgruber, Marilyn Crispell, Fritz Hauser)
  • Cruxes (2004, Balance Point Acoustics, bpa010) (w/ Aurora Josephson, Damon Smith, Martin Blume)
  • Amalgam(e): 10 ans De Red Toucan (2004, Red Toucan, RT 9325)
  • One More Time (2005, Leo, CD LR 422) (w/ Steve Lacy)
  • Flowers Of Peace (2005, Leo, CD LR 438) (as Ramon Lopez Flowers Trio, w/ Ramon Lopez, Sophia Domancich)
  • Concerto Grosso: Live At Gasthof Heidelberg Loppem (2005, Tonesetters/Jazz Halo, TS021/022)
  • Face it! (2005, Leo, CD LR 450) (w/ Lauren Newton)
  • Open Waves Concert (2006, Forward.DEMO 001) (w/ Carlos Bechegas)
  • At The Le Mans Jazz Festival (2006, Leo, CD LR 458/459)
  • Voyages (2006, BAJ Records, BJSP 0001) (w/ Masahiko Satoh)
  • The Stone Quartet (2007, DMG/ARC, DMG ARC 0721) (w/Marilyn Crispell, Roy Campbell, Mat Maneri)
  • Freeway (2007, Clean Feed CF080CD) (w/ Pascal Contet)
  • Winter In New York - 2006 (2007, Leo, CD LR 499) (w/ Kevin Norton)
  • 9 moments (2007, Red Toucan, RT 9333) (w/ François Houle, Raymond Srid)
  • Psychomagic Combination (2008, Setola Di Maiale, SM1180) (w/ Gianni Lenoci, Vittorino Curci, Marcello Magliocchi)
  • A L'Improviste (2008, Kadima, KCR 16) (w/ Barre Phillips)
  • Kor (2008, Leo Records, CD LR 522) (w/ Akosh S.)
  • Out Of Nowhere (2008, Ambiances Magnétiques, AM 184) (w/ Quentin Sirjacq)
  • Live In Israel (2008, Kadima, KCR 17)
  • Jubilee Concert (2009, Intakt, Intakt DVD 141) (as Les Diaboliques, w/ Irène Schweizer, Maggie Nicols)
  • Live At Dunois (2009, Leo Records, CD LR 535) (w/ William Parker)
  • Transatlantic Visions (2009, RogueArt, ROG-0020) (w/ George Lewis)
  • Trace (2009, Red Toucan, RT 9337) (w/ Maguelone Vidal, Raymond Boni)
  • Live Aux Instants Chavires, 2009 (2009, Kadima, KCR 22) (w/Jean Luc Cappozzo)
  • Duo ( Heidelberg Loppem ) 2007 (2009, Leo Records, CD LR 548/549) (w/ Anthony Braxton)
  • Live At Sons D'Hiver (2010, Ayler Records, aylCD-096) (as Last Seen Headed, w/ François Houle, Raymond Strid)
  • Journey (2010, NoBusiness Records, NBCD18 / NBLP25) (w/ India Cooke)
  • Before After (2010, RogueArt, ROG-0030) (w/ Nicole Mitchell, Dylan van der Schyff)
  • Can You Hear Me? (2011, Leo Records, CD LR 594/595) (w/ John Tilbury, Kevin Norton)
  • Solo (2011, Kadima, Triptych #3)
  • That Overt Desire Of Object (2011, Relative Pitch Records, RPR1002) (w/ Phillip Greenlief)
  • Live At Magyarkanizsa (2011, BMC, BMCCD183) (w/György Szabados)
  • Stone Quartet - Live At Vision Festival (2011, Ayler, aylCD-124) (w/ Roy Campbell, Marilyn Crispell, Mat Maneri)
  • MMM Quartet - Live At The Metz' Arsenal (2012, Leo Records, CD LR 631) (w/ Fred Frith , Alvin Curran, Urs Leimgruber )
  • 13 Miniatures For Albert Ayler (2012, RogueArt, ROG-0040) (w/ Jean-Jacques Avenel, Jean-Luc Cappozzo, Jacqueline Caux, Steve Dalachinsky, Simon Goubert, Raphaël Imbert, Sylvain Kassap, Urs Leimgruber, Didier Levallet, Ramon Lopez, Joe Mcphee, Evan Parker, Barre Phillips, Michel Portal, Lucia Recio, Christian Rollet, John Tchicai)
  • Trans (2012, Intervalle Triton, IT30121901) (w/ Serge Teyssot-Gay)
  • Conversations: Live In Ljubljana (2012, NotTwo, MW 892-2) (w/ Lauren Newton)
  • Live At Banlieue Bleue (2012, NoBusiness Records, NBCD51) (w/ Paul Lovens, Sebi Tramontana, Carlos Zingaro) 
  • Wols Circus (2012, --, HUS 112)
  • Evidence (2013, Relative Pitch Records, RPR1010) (w/ Jérôme Bourdellon)
  • The Bill Has Been Paid (2013, Dark Tree, DT 03) (w/ Steve Dalachinsky) 
  • Hasparren (2013, NoBusiness Records, NBCD62) (w/ Daunik Lazro)
  • 3 (2014, Ayler Records, aylCD-137) (w/ Pascal Contet) 
  • Sisters Where (2014, RogueArt, ROG-0055) (w/ Nicole Mitchell)
  • Flowing Stream (2014, Leo Records, CD LR 701) (w/ Thomas Buckner, Nicole Mitchell)
  • (Live At) Gråmølna (2014, Confront Recordings, CCS31) (w/ Michael Duch) 
  • 28 Rue Dunois Juillet 1982 (2014, Fou Records, FR-CD 06) (w/ Derek Bailey, George Lewis, Evan Parker)
  • Live At Kesselhaus Berlin 08.06.2013 (2014, Jazzdor Series, Jazzdor Series #1) (w/ Vincent Courtois)
  • Live In Molde (2014, +3db Records, +3DB021) (w/ Spunk) 
  • Sonic Communion (2015, The Bridge Sessions, TBS01) (w/ Jean-Luc Cappozzo, Douglas R. Ewart, Bernard Santacruz, Michael Zerang)
  • 14 Rue Paul Fort, Paris (2015, Leo Records, CD LR 731) (w/ Benoît Delbecq, François Houle) 
  • MMM Quartet - Oakland/Lisboa (2015, RogueArt, ROG-0063) (w/ Fred Frith, Alvin Curran, Urs Leimgruber) 
  • Can You Hear Me? (2016, Ayler Records, aylCD-146) 
  • Elastic (2016, Cipsela, CIP006) (w/ Théo Ceccaldi)
  • A Woman’s Work (2016, NotTwo, MW 950-2)
  • Judson Trio - An Air Of Unreality (2016, RogueArt, ROG-0073) (w/ Mat Maneri, Gerald Cleaver)
  • Tiger Trio - Unleashed (2016, RogueArt, ROG-0074) (w/ Myra Melford, Nicole Mitchell) 
  • Enfances (2016, FOU Records, FR CD 18) (w/ Daunik Lazro, Georges Lewis)
  • Tender Music (2018, Trost Records, TR172) (w/ Elisabeth Harnik)
  • Chez Hélène (2018, Ayler Records, aylCD-154) (w/ Marc Ducret)

Appears on:
  • Lol Coxhill - Instant Replay (1983, nato Recordings, nato 25/32)
  • Lol Coxhill - Couscous (1983, nato Recordings, nato 157)
  • Company -Trios (1983, Incus, Incus 51)
  • Irène Schweizer - Live at Taktlos (1984, Intakt, Intakt CD 001/Intakt LP 001)
  • Daunik Lazro - Sweet Zee (1985, Hat Hut Records, hat Art 2010)
  • VV.AA. - Six Séquences Pour Alfred Hitchcock (1984, nato Recordings, nato 112131)
  • VV.AA. - Canaille: International Women's Festival Of Improvised Music (1986, Intakt, Intakt 002)
  • Peter Kowald - Duos Europa (1986, FMP, FMP 1260)
  • Peter Kowald - Duos: Europa America Japan (1986, FMP, FMP CD 21)
  • Jon Rose - Violin Music For Restaurants (1987, ReR, ReR BJRCD)
  • Anthony Braxton Ensemble - (Victoriaville) 1988 (1988, Victo, Victo 07)
  • Julien Blaine - En Chair Et En Os: Poésie Du Triosième Millénaire (1988, Diffusion de la Création Contemporaine, DCC 008)
  • Mario Schiano/Evan Parker/Alex Von Schlippenbach/Paul Lytton - Unlike (1990, Splasc(h), CD H 309.2)
  • VV.AA. - Canaille 91 (1991)
  • Un Drame Musical Instantané - Urgent Meeting 2 (1992, GRRR Records, GRRR 2020)
  • Sainkho Namchylak - Letters (1992, Leo Records, CD LR 190)
  • VV.AA. - Wie Es Ihr Gefällt Festival 1991-1994 Vol. 1 (1993, z.o.o. 12-1)
  • VV.AA. - Musicworks 58 Sound On Stage Part 1 (1994, Musicworks 58)
  • Jon Rose - :// (1994, ReR, ReR BJR4)
  • VV.AA. - Philippe Fénelon (1997, MFA, 216015)
  • Chantal Dumas - Le Parfum Des Femmes (1997, Ohm Editions/Avatar, OHM/AVTR 011)
  • Saadet Türköz - Marmara Sea (1998, Intakt, Intakt CD 061)
  • Mendelson - Quelque part (2000, Lithium)
  • VV.AA. - Festival Beyond Innocence: 4 1999-2000 (2000, Innocent Records, FBI 105)
  • VV.AA. - Concerten (2000, Muziekinstrumentenmuseum, MIM0010)
  • Julien Blaine - La 5ème Feuille (2000, Diffusion de la Création Contemporaine, DCC 014)
  • Ramon Lopez - Duets 2 Rahsaan Roland Kirk (2002, Leo, CD LR 356)
  • Irène Schweizer: A Film By Gitta Gsell (2006, Intakt DVD 121)
  • VV.AA. - 25th NWM: The 25th Ninth World Music Release (?, Ninth World Music, NWM 025)
  • Vinny Golia - The Ethnic Project (2011, Kadima, KCR 34)
  • Théo Ceccaldi Trio+1 - Can You Smile? (2013, Ayler Records, aylCD-136) 



Joëlle Léandre

À Voix Basse
entretiens avec Franck Médioni

Éditions MF, Paris, 2008

See here for details



Joëlle Léandre

un film de Christine Baudillon

Hors Œil, 2008



Interview by Kurt Gottschalk (@All About Jazz)

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