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Joëlle Léandre Tentet - Can You Hear Me? (2015)

Grego Edwards, Gapplegate Music Blog

Joelle Leandre has more than one musical dimension to offer us. If we didn't know that already her recent album with the Joelle Leandre 10, Can You Hear Me? (Ayler Records 146), will alert us to this happy situation.

Joelle is one of the most important and creative, most original avant improvisational contrabassists active today. I've covered a fair number of her bass albums over on the Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Blog and they are most invigorating. (Click on the cross link on this page for those.) She is also an extraordinary vocalist--mostly in tandem with her bass excursions.

And she is a jazz composer-bandleader of exceptional stature. Can You Hear Me? gives us some extraordinary music from her 10-member band. It shows us her mastery of new avant compositional openness and originality.

The band is well-chosen and well suited for the music at hand. It consists of course of Joelle on contrabass, along with Guillaume Aknine on electric guitar, Florian Satche on drums and percussion, Jean-Brice Godet on clarinets, Theo Ceccaldi on violin, Christiane Bopp on trombone, Jean-Luc Cappozzo on trumpet, Severine Morfine on alto sax, Alexandra Grimal on saxophones and Valentin Ceccaldi on cello. Readers of my blogs and those conversant with the European avant jazz lifestreams should recognize some or many of these names, but ultimately what matters is that the band as a whole has considerable improvisational abilities and a collective togetherness that is near ideal for the realization of Leandre's musical sublimities.

The drummer side of me notes some really interesting work from Florian here. But then there are many improvisational high points from virtually all concerned.

And the compositional frameworks are beautifully wrought and executed for an album that stands out as vitally contemporary and artistically superb. It is some of my favorite music so far this year! So needless to say I do thoroughly recommend this one. Great compositional cohesiveness and inspiration--and terrific ensemble and solo work! The Ten need to be heard--with I hope many live appearances and more recordings. Bravo!