Gigs, dance, art

February 26th, 2009: Jean-Luc Cappozzo – Joëlle Léandre

@instants chavires

I had heard each once before, and had been quite impressed, so I went in trying not to expect too much. They’re very good at what they do though, so I guess even a bad day for them would still sound good. What I found interesting this time was the part that listening played in their sets. They’re not just good, they pay enough attention to the other to have actual interactions while keeping their very personal identities intact.

With Joëlle Léandre, that includes using her voice in addition to her bass, whether singing, talking or just mumbling. I’m — of course — not a fan of the funny part of her act, but it’s a part of her strong personality. With Jean-Luc Cappozzo, I think that includes an ability to step back and let the other go on for a short while still making his presence felt somehow, an ability to play with silence as well as sound which is something I prize. On the minus side, though the sets were consistently interesting, I wouldn’t say they reached the level of the previous time I saw each. On the plus side, their ability to be one with their instrument gives a self-evident quality to their music, as if playing is just as natural as talking. That alone means they really would have to be complacent and aloof to be dull, and they seem just too curious and playful for that to happen anytime soon.


March 1, 2009 Posted by | Music | , , | Leave a comment

May 25th, 2008: Joe McPhee & Jean-Luc Cappozzo

@instants chavirés

Early gig, and unfortunately pretty short, I could have used a third set. Two trumpets most of the time — Jean-Luc Cappozzo had two, and McPhee a small and a big one — though Joe McPhee also made good use of a soprano saxophone, and just stepped back at times. But that does not mean it was the same kind of sound throughout, far from it. There was the usual understated breathing through the instruments so prevalent in the free improvisation scene, but it was just one sound among many, so it never had a chance to grow tiresome. And there was also some whistling through and even a kind of singing that gave a third and even a fourth line with only two performers. Cappozzo also used a different mouthpiece that yielded a buzzing, reedy sound and in the gimmick department McPhee started by pouring water into his pocket trumpet, which eventually yielded a gurgling sound. He also made good percussive use of his bigger trumpet by hitting the mouthpiece with his palm. And they even were daring enough to play in a regular way.

That’s just for the range of sounds, but it actually never devolved into an empty display, more like going through the possibilities of the instruments but in the course of carrying on a conversation. I did feel dazzled at times, and more than a little of it went way over my head, but that’s my lack of fluency in that language showing. I liked that they played slow at some points, it’s not that usual in there, this avoidance of technical virtuosity. And it proved that Joe McPhee could perfectly well sound smooth when he wants to, and that emphasized the choices made earlier. That’s probably where a third set could have been good for me, maybe I was ready by then to ignore the novelty of the different sounds and focus on the music itself; too often I missed the boat, which not much time to recover because they mostly played shortish sequences.

May 26, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , | Leave a comment