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Album Review

In early 2001 the Montreal-based new jazz/free improv label Red Toucan was resuscitated after a two-year hiatus, its first new release being C'est Ça (That's That), a strong comeback. This trio features bassist Joëlle Léandre, guitarist Hasse Poulsen, and clarinetist François Houle (a favorite of the label). Recorded live in Paris on March 12th, 2000, the music on this CD testifies of Léandre's stature on the international improv scene, and shows once more how wide Houle's stylistic range is — he feels very much at ease in this context (at the time, he also worked with an electro-acoustic quartet and a contemporary chamber music ensemble, among other things). The CD presents ten short improvisations (nothing over eight minutes), all titled "C'est Ça." Léandre uses her bow a lot, forming an alliance with the clarinet's sustained tones against Poulsen's percussive attacks on the acoustic guitar. Then, a few minutes later, it's the guitarist who joins forces with Houle, scratching his strings, leaving the bassist plucking away imaginary basslines. The intuitive communication between the three of them can be experienced on track three, as the improv takes what sounds like clearly defined steps. Léandre sings on track nine, her voice and bass becoming one, to the listener's delight. Energetic without getting exuberant, intelligent but not mannerist, C'est Ça is one of Léandre's strong recordings in small group setting. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Born: 12 September 1951 in Aix-en-Provence, France

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Contrebassist and improviser Joëlle Léandre counts John Cage among her close mentors and has remained under-acknowledged for the amount -- and quality -- of her work since she began recording in 1981. Léandre has performed and recorded with many of the best, and most interesting, musicians in improvised music, including German bassist Peter Kowald, American reedsman and composer Anthony Braxton, Swiss pianist Irène Schweizer, Australian violinist Jon Rose, vocalist Lauren Newton, and British guitarist...
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C'est ça (Live), Joëlle Léandre
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