All of your favorites, in one place.
“Fabulous duo studio session featuring Joelle Leandre on contrabass & voice and Phillip Greenlief on woodwinds & voice. Our good friends Mike Panico & Kevin Reilly - whom you might meet at door of The Stone on various nights - have been talking about starting their own label for the past year. Finally have their first release (and a second of Vinny Golia Qt next month!) which is quite extraordinary. Both Joelle and Phillip are gifted improvisers with long and varied backgrounds. Anyone who regularly reads our newsletter should know about Ms. Leandre, one of the finest contrabassists on the planet who turns sixty this year and is celebrating by playing sixty concerts around the world. Mr. Greenlief is a longtime Bay area reeds wizard who runs the Evander label and has worked with Trevor Dunn, Scott Amendola, Adam Levy & Andreas Willers, performing solo and in duos & trios. Although Mr. Greenlief often concentrates on one reed instrument per CD or set, for this duo disc he switches between alto, tenor & soprano saxes and clarinet. I’ve always dug the sound of reeds & contrabass together since they cover similar tonal qualities, warm, wooden, percussive and vocal-like sounds. Joelle and Phillip are obviously listening closely and responding in a heated dialogue. It sounds like both musicians are telling stories at the same time while interacting quickly and tossing ideas back and forth. Some sounds are brittle and delicate while others are explosive and frenzied, yet all sounds are focused and blend superbly into one another. Just as we breathe in between sentences, so do these musicians - this music breathes and sounds like life unfolding in a most organic way. At times Phillip adds bits of odd (animal-like) vocal sounds which enhances the sounds he is making on the sax or clarinet. There are two "Variations for Soprano Sax & Contrabass". For the second one, Joelle & Phillip exchange a flurry of high-end flutters, providing a dense buzzing activity. This is a studio effort and the sound is superbly recorded, each instrument is captured with great attention to detail. Joelle's contrabass sound is powerful and often in your face while sounding immense and intense. When she uses her bow on the the second variation for alto sax & bass, it is just incredible, bristling with transfixing tension. The last two long solo pieces are for soprano sax with voices and solo bass with voices. Both are extraordinary, highly concentrated and extreme. Every sound is loaded with layers of meaning and/or communication. The overall effect is stunning. I can hardly wait for the next release from this fine new label which will feature Vinny Golia & Bobby Bradford.” Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery