Joélle Leandre / Pascal Contet
Joélle Leandre (b), Pascal Contet (acc),
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This pair of great French musicians had a previous duo recording in 1994, but it’s now difficult to find. It was such a marvellous encounter that a second session has been greatly anticipated. Here it is, 13 years after, and with a Portuguese edition. A double bass and an accordion, nothing more because they have it all in their respective fingers and minds: Joelle Léandre and Pascal Contet have serious jazz chops but they can also deal with microtonality and dissonance. They’re both fine improvisers and “genretrotters”: besides playing with the likes of Anthony Braxton, Evan Parker, Irène Schweizer, Fred Frith and Carlos “Zíngaro”, Joelle is also an interpreter of classical contemporary composers like John Cage, Giacinto Scelsi and Morton Feldman. Pascal covers a spectrum of styles going from popular formats (“chanson française” and musette, for instance) to the avant-garde, performing compositions by Sylvano Bussotti, Vinko Globokar and Jean-Pierre Drouet or guesting with a symphony orchestra conducted by Pierre Boulez. “Freeway” is the product of a duo of virtuosos, but they never indulge in mere exhibition of technique. This is “savant” mood music, jazzy and at the same time with chamber dimensions, provocative and demanding even if spontaneous and intuitive. As Fred Jung, from All About Jazz, writes in the liner notes, “this is music without borders, boundaries, or safety nets”, ambivalent, palpitating and very much alive.