Monday, February 20, 2012

Joelle Leandre - Phillip Greenlief, "That Overt Desire of Object"--Bass-Reed Duets and Solos

So we are in a new week on a Monday morning at an obscenely early hour for avant music but yet I play what I am writing about as I write about it, and that's what I always do. If something still sounds good at 8:00 Monday morning, it sounds good. Period. That's what I tell myself as I write this review--for the CD That Overt Desire of Object (Relative Pitch 1002), by Joelle Leandre and Phillip Greenlief.

Ms. Leandre is a highly inventive, highly skilled avant contrabassist; Mr. Greenlief does the same with the woodwinds--here soprano, alto, tenor and clarinet. Together they conjure up some wonderful improvisations.

Both have excellent control and command of their instruments. Both can evoke convincing variations in tone, sound and pitch. Both do so here, collectively and singly. They also use their voices as a second color-sound supplement.

The extra-musical theme is that of greed. We've seen how it can bring us all to our knees. The music is in part about that--or to be more accurate it is a response to a meditation on what that can and does do--judging from Mr. Greenlief's remarks on the liners.

In the course of the program the two get a remarkably sympatico vibe going and both are limber and eloquent in their musical speech. For those readers who might not be overly familiar with the new music world, this is music that is sometimes called "free jazz." That doesn't mean that it is the music of tosspots or a_s over teakettle aesthetics. It means that they play music of a certain language with a certain degree of spontaneity. And they do it excellently.

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