"Most Americans discover European improvised music using a map dominated by Amsterdam, Berlin, and London, which dwarfs and shoves the rest of the continent to the margins. At some point, however, even they realize the land lies differently. Yet, extensive exploration is required to correct the proportions, label the tributaries, and overlay the trade routes. In this endeavor, recordings become the coordinates that begin to flesh out the map's heretofore blank spaces.
Madly You is valuable in this regard. Daunik Lazro, Joelle Leandre, and Carlos Zingaro are all but unknown to the typical American improvised music enthusiast, whose knowledge of Paul Lovens centers on his work with Schlippenbach Trio. Theirs are names seen occasionally in English language magazines, usually in connection with CDs available only through mail order services. Their stature in this supposedly peripheral Europe, and their respective and shared histories, entail few familiar reference points.For them, Madly You would be a jolt, albeit a welcomed one. Even for the unusually motivated American, who has managed to hear these improvisers in performance, and to snag a good number of their recordings, the album imparts the concentrated sense of discovery so valued in the pursuit of improvised music. Conversely, at a time when improvised music is perceived in some European quarters to be slipping into a comfortable middle aged genre, this music is devoid of the stock gambits giving such prattle its limited sway.The ensemble's palette immediately engages the ear. Given the hegemony of the soprano and tenor saxophones in improvised music, Lazro's use of alto, the once dominant jazz ax scantily represented in improvised music, and the equally seldom heard baritone is refreshing. On the higher horn, he blends well with the frequently soaring Zingaro; on the lower, he and Leandre can produce a fearsome rumble. Completed by Lovens' small percussion orchestra, it is a palette adaptable to the bold strokes and subtle shadings filling these canvases.
The ensemble further distinguishes itself by how it employs these colors. Instead of machine gunning the listener, letting him or her in on an inside joke, or testing their polemical rigor, the ensemble directly communicates their passions. Additionally, these improvisations exude an impulsive, mercurial quality, the sense that the direction of the music could go almost anywhere at almost anytime. Subsequently, the listener is drawn into the unfolding of the music on its terms, not the ideologues'.
Among the score of reasons, committing improvised music to recordings is a risky proposition because it creates a familiarity, even an intimacy that would otherwise never exist had the tape not been rolling. It is therefore incumbent upon improvisers to issue recordings that prolong the listeners' initial stage of discovery, that keeps them in a state of wonder long enough that they at least temporarily discard their assumptions, and in the case of Americans, their maps. Daunik Lazro, Joelle Leandre, Paul Lovens, and Carlos Zingaro do exactly that on Madly You." - Bill Shoemaker