INTAKT RECORDS – CD-REVIEWS
Sylvie Courvoisier

Sylvie Courvoisier - Joëlle Léandre - Susie Ibarra. Passaggio. INTAKT CD 075


Three superb improvisers
AMG EXPERT REVIEW: Not your conventional modern jazz-based piano trio, these highly regarded improvisers pursue circular and open-ended dialogue during this vibrant set recorded in the studio and in concert. Pianist Sylvie Courvoisier works through many of these multi-faceted frameworks via Cecil Taylor-like excursions amid rumbling lower-register dynamics and sinuous chord clusters. Bassist Joëlle Léandre and drummer Susie Ibarra are afforded equal parts soloing space, where they expound upon previously stated themes. On pieces such as "Taktlos 3" (recorded live), the trio embarks upon a crash-and-burn free jazz methodology, featuring Ibarra's tumultuous polyrhythms and Courvoisier's fragmented progressions, whereas Léandre provides the snaking bottom end with rapidly executed arco lines or complexly constructed fabrics of sound. Some of these works are introspective, where the artists' serve as colorists in combination with purposeful call-and-response-type dialogue. Nothing overtly new or groundbreaking, yet this 2002 release presents the listener with a hearty program brought to you by three superb improvisers. --
Glenn Astarita, All Music Guide, USA, Aug. 2002 (http://www.allmusic.com)

 

Another excellent trio is the more traditionally formulated piano/bass/drums grouping of Sylvie Courvoisier, Joelle Leandre and Susie Ibarra, who have recorded a CD called Passaggio (Intakt CD 075). Only the dullest of piano trios are still constituted as a piano lead with rhythm support, but this is an especially notable example of a fully democtratic trio in which each musician is both outonomous and a fully supportive member of a group. Sometimes you notice one player more than another, but listen again and an other element is striking (the coherent sound of all three, perhaps.) This is truely beautiful music: spectral, spontanious, full of vivid colours, the richest and most precise detailing (like the background in a Renaissance painting). Unlike more noticed and well advertised piano trios these three are not concerned with mere mood creation - Lifestyl Jazz as accessory for the aspirational - their concern is with music making. It is just music, but essential.
Declan 0'Driscoll, The Journal of Music in Ireland, Nov/Dez. 2002

 

4 Noten (unbedingt reinhören)
Für mich war dieses, überraschenderweise nicht auf «Frauen-Power» machende «SJS»-Trio mit der Lausanner Pianistin/Komponistin Sylvie Courvoisier, der französischen Bassistin und Action Performerin Joëlle Léandre und der philippinisch-amerikanischen, New Yorker Schlagzeugerin Susie Ibarra einer der interessantesten Auftritte beim letztjährigen «Taktlos»-Festival, und das, weil es diesmal nicht in erster Linie um explosive Free-Music-Ausbrüche im Kollektiv ging, sondern um nachdenklich-intuitives Erkunden und Entwickeln von miteinander korrespondierenden Figuren, Klängen, Stimmungen, Rhythmen, Intensitätsebenen. Aber die Pressereaktionen waren geteilt: «Die drei Frauen, Powerfrauen allesamt, wenn man denn den gängigen Jargon bemühen will, haben sich erstaunlicherweise wenig zu sagen. Den spontanen Einfällen, den Interventionen, Provokationen und Herausforderungen, mit denen Joëlle Léandre ihre Partnerinnen reizt, piekst und anstachelt, hat Sylvie Courvoisier kaum Gleichgewichtiges entgegenzusetzen (...)», konnte man im Tages-Anzeiger lesen. Demgegenüber hiess es in der NZZ: «Selten hat man Sylvie Courvoisier am (präparierten) Klavier so locker und luzide spielen hören können». Um zu eigenen Eindrücken zu gelangen, gibt es auf der CD allerdings nur vier Live-Titel vom «Taktlos». Die anderen acht wurden drei Tage zuvor im Zürcher SR DRS-Studio aufgenommen (Martin Pearson). Aber auch sie sind durch spontanes wie spielerisch leichtes, unspektakuläres, völlig entspanntes miteinander Agieren und Reagieren und den völligen Verzicht auf Effekte geprägt.
Johannes Anders, © JAZZ 'N' MORE Juni/Juli 2002

 

Kurzweilig und in höchstem Masse interaktiv
...die aus Lausanne stammende Pianistin und Komponistin Sylvie Courvoisier hat in New York ihre Zelte aufgeschlagen. Auch sie ist von der «ernsten» Musik geprägt, auch sie schreibt wunderbar lyrische Stücke. Die aktuelle CD, entstanden am Zürcher Taktlos-Festival 2001 und im Zürcher Radiostudio, illustriert allerdings eine andere Facette der eigenwilligen Künstlerin. Zusammen mit der französischen Kontrabassistin Joëlle Léandre und der amerikanischen Perkussionistin Susie Ibarra betrieb die phantasievolle Improvisatorin «Instant Composing». Überraschend kurzweilig und in höchstem Masse interaktiv sind die zwölf spontanen Kreationen, in denen die drei Musikerinnen mit unterschiedlichsten Mitteln eine ganze Palette von Klangfarben ausbreiten und intensive Stimmungsbilder malen. Dabei glaubt man, den drei Frauen beim Diskutieren über alle möglichen Themen zuzuhören.
Nick Liebmann, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 11.Juli 02

 

Traditional Jazz listeners have always thought of Jazz as a conversation between the players; no matter what your instrument in an ensemble situation, you are provided opportunities to encourage, goad, push, lead, pull back, agree, or directly contradict your fellow bandmates, but always within the form of the song. And though you may diverge briefly from the key range or even the time signature, harmony always has the last say.
So what happens when there's no written page, no chord charts, and no composed form? What's the effect when there's no melody to neatly bookend your solo choruses, your interludes, your "fours" or "eights"? Where can music that's got no time signature, no key range, and is more or less invented on the spot take the human mind? These are questions John Cage left us with his concepts of "non-intentional" music, and Courvoisier, Léandre, and Ibarra are still searching for the answers.
Their playing is superior technically, but it's difficult to gauge them since they rarely play the normal registers of their instruments. In fact, they seem to be doing everything they can to make the ordinary quite unrecognizeable sometimes. In "Mini Two", Léandre is scraping away at uncharted registers of her bass, bowing it beyond the bridge to get a high-pitched nasal squeal the everyday Jazz bassist might cringe at. Courvoisier loves the very highest and/or lowest notes on the piano, tinkling playfully with the right hand before carpet bombing us with the left. Ibarra exhibits a brooding tendency to be tense, brief, and fairly unobtrusive, even dropping out entirely for long periods, but when the players gain momentum she is an explosion of speed and volume.
For all its achievements as a truly forward-looking work of great bravery, Passaggio's problems stem from its inability to be much more than an art piece. That's my problem with Cage's work, too; free and random music might be a new and original idea, but that doesn't make it sound good. The instruments on the album rumble, fumble, mumble and clash, set on a tack for disaster like a listing galleon, and they do it on every track! This is a tense, confusing, and disturbing work that will certainly stimulate your mind, but probably not your ears.
By Joshua Kline, Jazz Now, USA, August 2002

 

Klangskulpturen
Mit Courvoisier und Ibarra beginnen sich neue Gesichter anzubieten in der kleinen Riege von Improvisiererinnen. Der Schulterschluss der Generationen war schon bei Mephista (Tzadik, 2002) zu erleben, wo die beiden mit Ikue Mori spielten, und hier nun ist die Léandre die Frau mir der längeren Erfahrung im weiten Feld der Stegreiferfindungen und des nicht-idiomatischen Zungenredens. Die von den Phillipinen stammende Drummerin hat sich seit Mittte der 90er einen Namen gemacht beim One World Ensemble, mit William Parker oder David S. Ware und hat auf Hapscotch sowie in der Tzadik-Composers- und der speziell für avantgardistische Musikerinnen eingerichteten -Oracles-Reihe Platten als Leaderin herausgebracht. Courvoisier hat sich etwa mit ihrem Projekt "Ocre" (Enja, 1997) oder - jeweils auf Intakt - als Duopartnerin von Lucas Niggli (CD 058, 1999) oder Jacques Demierre (CD 064, 2000) profiliert. "passaggio" enthält Studiotracks und Exzerpte vom 2001er Taktlos-Festival. Quicke, sprunghafte Interaktionen, jedoch selten zum Powerplay verdichtet, statt dessen werden fragile Klangskulpturen in die Luft gezirkelt oder mit viel Fingerspitzengefühl chromatische Skizzen gekritzelt. Durchwegs jazzfernes Plinkplonk, jedoch nicht mit englischer Strenge ausgeführt, sondern mit Finesse und einem kammermusikalischen Musica-Nova-Touch.
Bad Alchemy, Würzburg, 40/2002

 

Carlos «Zingaro»- Joelle Leandre-Sebi Tramontana. The Chicken Check in Complex. Leo Records CD LR 340 Sylvie Courvoisier-Joelle Leandre-Susie Ibarra. passagio. Intakt CD 075 / 2002
Sylvie Courvoisier-Susie Ibarra-Ikue Mori. Mephista black narcissus. Tzadik
Susie Ibarra Trio. songbird suite .Tzadik
Selten passiert es, dass mehrere Produktionen von Musikern und Musikerinnen, die in ineinandergreifenden Besetzungen sehr verwandte Musik entstehen lassen, relativ gleichzeitig erscheinen. Auf jeden Fall Grund genug, sie einmal im Überblick zu besprechen. Die miteinander verbundenen Musiker/innen sind in diesem Fall Joelle Léandre, Sylvie Courvoisier und Susi Ibarra, alle drei inzwischen unbestrittene Exponentinnen einer aktuellen Musikszene, die gleichermassen der Improvisierten wie der Neuen Musik zu zuschreiben ist. Es beginnt mit The Chicken Check in südlichen Regionen, zwischen Sizilien, der Heimat des Posaunisten Sebi Tramontana, der wie ein italienischer Tenor voller Dramatik grosse Geschichten zu erzählen weiss, man höre nur seine mehrstimmigen Solopassagen bei «Adesso voglio fare...», und Lissabon, wo der Geiger Carlos «Zingaro» (mit bürgerlichem Namen Corujo de Magelhaes Alves) virtuos eine neue Klangwelt für sein Instrument erschliesst, mit allen technischen Feinheiten, die dieses Mustermedium der klassischen Musik mit sich bringt. Unterwegs, in Süd-Frankreich haben sie Joelle Leandre aufgegabelt, die sowohl mit dem gestrichenen wie mit dem gezupften Bass den Ton angibt in dieser neuartigen Kammermusik. Das südländische Temperament der Drei schlägt sich nieder, wenn sie in ausgedehnten und spannungsgeladenen Höhepunkten nach mühsamem Aufbau geradezu singbare wunderschönen lyrische Bilder entwickeln. Freie Improvisation von einer intuitiven Farbigkeit und trotz aller Abstraktion grosser Schönheit entfaltet sich in den elf Teilen einer in sich zusammenhängenden Suite, Titel wie «Broken Strings and Falling Hair» oder «Game Strategy» von bildhafter Sprache. Spannung entsteht vor allem durch rhythmische Verflechtungen, musterhaft zu hören bei «Unique», wo Leandre einen regelrecht singenden Bassklang produziert. Den Schlusstitel «Em espera « Waiting Orders» mit einer beeindruckenden Vokalistin Leandre könnte man fast so verstehen, als hätten sie gewusst, dass es weitergeht, mit Joelle Leandre, Sylvie Courvoisier und Susie Ibarra, der Ausnahme-Percussionistin und passagio.
Aus drei Teilen besteht diese Produktion, kleinen dem Titel angemessenen Passagen oder Mini-Stücken, «Mini One» bis «Mini Five», Passagen, die kommen und gehen, von einem traumhaften aufeinander Eingehen der drei Musikerinnen geprägt, Leandres kraftvoller Bass, Courvoisiers minimales aber gleichwohl elementares Klavier und Ibarras Perkussion, die alle noch vorhandene Räume ausfüllt. Der erste Teil wie auch der dritte, wiederum kleine Geschichten, «Fact One « bis «Fact Three» sind im Züricher Studio aufgenommen, unterbrochen von vier Live-Titeln, entstanden auf dem Taktlos-Festival 2001 in Zürich. Die Resonanz des Publikums lässt ihre Performance noch intuitiver, mitreissender werden.
Auf narcissus führt Sylvie Courvoisier die Reise fort. Susie Ibarra ist weiter mit von der Partie und die Electronics von Ikue Mori kommen hinzu und lenken die Aufnahme gegenüber den beiden ersten auf einen neuen, zeitgenössischen Weg. Salvador Dali steuert das Coverbild bei, wobei die Musik selbst passenderweise durchaus surrealistische Züge trägt, korrespondierend mit dem Namen des Trios «Mephista». Nachhallende Basstrommeln, wabernder elektronischer Hintergrund und hektische freie Klavierausbrüche geben der Musik des Trios einen manchmal tranceartigen Hintergrund. Die Namen der Titel «Willows Weep», «Cabbalussa», «Poison Ivy», «Black Widow» sind nicht zufällig gewählt, sondern vermitteln gewollt gespenstische Züge, wie es einer dreifachen «Mephista» zusteht. Am Ende lacht nur eine, die Medusa («Laughing Medusa»).
Susie Ibarra kriegt schliesslich wieder die Kurve und beendet mit songbird suite die einigermassen abenteuerliche Reise zusammen mit Jennifer Choi (viol), Craig Taborn (p, samples, electronics) und auf einigen Titeln noch einmal Ikue Mori mit ihren Elektronics auf sehr viel fröhlicherem, wenn auch sehr poetischem Terrain. «Azul» führt in lateinamerikanische Gefilde, angetrieben von Taborns kräftigem Piano. Elegisch wird es dann mit dem Titelstück mit ausgedehnten unter die Haut gehenden Violinpassagen. Ibarras Hang zum «‹bersinnlichen», nur in musikalischer Hinsicht und auf den beiden letzten Produktionen, wird noch einmal deutlich durch dreimal Trance, «Trance No.1» bis «Trance No.3», Titel auf denen sie ihre aussergewöhnlichen Fähigkeiten zeigt. Auffallend ist der intensive Gebrauch der grossen Bass-Trommeln und Becken, die dem ganzen einen beschwörenden Hintergrund verleihen. Blumen gibt es noch für John Zorn mit dem ihm gewidmeten Titel «Flower After Flower», bevor das Trio auf seine spannungsreiche Weise den vorbeiziehenden Wolken nachsieht («Passing Clouds»), was vor allem einem sehr einfühlsamen Pianisten Craig Taborn zuzuschreiben ist, eine passende Situation für das Ende dieser Reise durch viele Gegenden, Bilder und Geschichten der aktuellen Improvisation. Hans-Jürgen von Osterhausen
Hans-Jürgen von Osterhausen. 10/02, Jazz Podium, Deutschland

 

Traditional Jazz listeners have always thought of Jazz as a conversation between the players; no matter what your instrument in an ensemble situation, you are provided opportunities to encourage, goad, push, lead, pull back, agree, or directly contradict your fellow bandmates, but always within the form of the song. And though you may diverge briefly from the key range or even the time signature, harmony always has the last say.
So what happens when there’s no written page, no chord charts, and no composed form? What’s the effect when there’s no melody to neatly bookend your solo choruses, your interludes, your “fours” or “eights”? Where can music that’s got no time signature, no key range, and is more or less invented on the spot take the human mind? These are questions John Cage left us with his concepts of “non-intentional” music, and Courvoisier, Léandre, and Ibarra are still searching for the answers.
Their playing is superior technically, but it’s difficult to gauge them since they rarely play the normal registers of their instruments. In fact, they seem to be doing everything they can to make the ordinary quite unrecognizable sometimes. In “Mini Two”, Léandre is scraping away at uncharted regions of her bass, bowing it beyond the bridge to get a high-pitched nasal squeal the everyday Jazz bassist might cringe at. Courvoisier loves the very highest and/or lowest notes on the piano, tinkling playfully with the right hand before carpet bombing us with the left. Ibarra exhibits a brooding tendency to be tense, brief, and fairly unobtrusive, even dropping out entirely for long periods, but when the players gain momentum she is an explosion of speed and volume.
For all its achievements as a truly forward-looking work of great bravery, Passaggio's problems stem from its inability to be much more than an art piece. That’s my problem with Cage’s work, too; free and random music might be a new and original idea, but that doesn’t make it sound good. The instruments on the album rumble, fumble, mumble and clash, set on a tack for disaster like a listing galleon, and they do it on every track! This is a tense, confusing, and disturbing work that will certainly stimulate your mind, but probably not your ears.
Joshua Kline http://www.jazzreview.com


Back in the pre-feminist 1950s, jazz critic Leonard Feather put together a "cats verses chicks" jam session. On it, an all-female band including vibist Terry Pollard and guitarist Mary Osborne went head to head with an equal number of male musicians including vibist Terry Gibbs and guitarist Tal Farlow, trading solos on such appropriate tunes as "Anything You Can Do ... I Can Do Better." The sentiment seemed to be that this would prove that women could play jazz just as well as men.
While subsequent and preceding decades have produced distaff jazzers as good or better than their male counterparts, the idea of comparing particular musicians as to gender seems as antiquated as concern about the racial make up of sports teams. As point of reference Swiss pianist Sylvie Courvoisier's trio is all female, while Dutch pianist Jeroen Van Vliet and his associates all are male. Yet the differences between these two fine sessions have almost nothing to do with the gender of the participants. Very simply, any more antithetical approaches to a modern jazz piano trio session then these groups have found, are practically non-existent. Van Vliet, who has been linchpin of bassist Eric van der Westen's band since its formation in 1995, is an unabashed romantic, who has also written for dance and film. His third solo album, Red Sun, finds him smack-dab in the middle of the impressionist jazz tradition. But careful listening to the playing and writing here -- all the tunes but two miniatures are his -- reveals a chilly intelligence underneath the romance, sort of like an updated Paul Bley.
More experimental, Passaggio, featuring three of the world's most accomplished free improv practitioners. There's Courvoisier, who often works with American violinist Mark Feldman as well as veterans such as Swiss drummer Lucas Niggli and American cellist Erik Friedlander; French bassist Joëlle Léandre, known as a paramount interpreter of the work of John Cage as well as an improviser with other master musicians such as British guitarist Derek Bailey and Swiss pianist Irène Schweizer; and American drummer Susie Ibarra, whose sound has been an important part of groups led by saxophonist John Zorn and David S. Ware and bassist William Parker.
Cast in the form of a suite, Van Vliet's CD features a dozen compositions, and during the course of which he proves that attributes like beauty and delicacy are not exclusively feminine traits. There are times, however, that the pianist seems to be pacing himself to not press too firmly on the keys. (...)
Moving from Oslo to Zürich, Switzerland, we find 12 instant compositions performed by three musicians unlike any others. Although the burlesque trappings of some of Léandre's more vocal performances are missing, the three seem to be having a grand time. There's no overt humor, but neither is there the sombreness that intentionally or not, Van Vliet & Co., appeared to portray. Definitely improvised music, many of the Courvoisier tracks begin with silence, as the three seem to be discussing what they will be playing next. As with many other session in which she's featured, bassist Léandre could carry the entire performance by herself. During the course of these 51-odd minutes, she draws falsetto screeches from her instrument's strings; scratches its wood, sides and pegs; strums it like a giant guitar; plucks it like a Dixielander's bull fiddle; (wo) manhandles it so you can hear the wood reverberating as the strings pull; bows away as if she was replicating the sound of a swarm of insects; and offers up other arco legerdemain that transforms her four strings into that of an entire orchestral string section. Not that the other two are far behind in inventiveness. Homegirl Courvoisier 's work ranges from producing speedy, restless, piano patterns to gliding over they keys with massed arpeggios and using implements and her hands to mute the keyboard action inside the piano. Other times she'll stroke the internal strings as if they were really inside a harp and bang the sides and cover for additional percussive notes. Individual in approach, there's still a point, almost at the end of the disc, when she and Ibarra duet like Max Roach and Cecil Taylor ranging hell bent for leather -- or wood -- over all parts of their respective instruments. From her position, the drummer alternates between loudness and silence. Momentarily, she produces a ghostly cymbal continuum or what could be precious glass hit every so slightly. Then she'll build up to a crescendo of tapping or knocking snare work that sounds as if she's outside a door and wants in. Rattling chains, bells and tam tams, often a distinct Oriental gong reverberation will appear as well. Military march time makes its appearance here, as does the closest thing to traditional jazz tempo on "Taktlos 2." As Léandre moves from European classical harmonics to American country hoedown suggestions with a flick of her bow, Ibarra suddenly stops cross sticking on the drum rims and produces a deep Gene Krupa-like swing bass drum sound. Nothing is done in isolation, of course. Never does it seem that one musician is the patriarchal leader and the others merely sidefolk. On "Mini Four," for example, Courvoisier's fleet passages at the top of her range are altered by Léandre's arco pyrotechnics and Ibarra's approximations of Aboriginal tambourine music. Soon all are in the forefront, improvising at the same level of loudness. "Taktlos 3" works that way as well, where straightforward swing from the piano and bop cymbal work moves in and out of standard time led by the bassist lacerating the highest part of her string set and the section behind the extended bridge. What results is music that is as outside, as it is inside. At times, as well, the three are involved in such a cauldron of group improvisations that you're not sure which instrument produces which sound, something that never happens on Red Sun. Unabashed free improv fans, who want to experience the full range of a piano trio, should seek out Passagio. Those whose tastes run more to quieter and less confrontational sounds will probably be more impressed by Red Sun.
Ken Waxman www.jazzweekly.com

 

Questo disco sembra fatto apposta per sciogliere i frequenti dubbi che molti ascoltatori (e il vostro recensore tra questi) esprimono a proposito della vitalità della cosiddetta musica "radicale improvvisata". Logorata da decenni di ossessioni fobiche nei confronti delle strutture melodiche, spesso questa musica nasconde un narcisismo un po' infantile, serpeggiante nella coazione a ripetere, simile a quella di molto mainstream. Le tre magnifiche protagoniste di questa incisione oltrepassano tutti i cliché insiti nella pratica dell'aleatorietà, in virtù di una padronanza linguistica e di una chiarezza di idee esemplari. L'arte dell'ascolto reciproco e della reazione immediata agli stimoli sonori viene dunque esaltata, affermando alcuni semplici ma importanti intendimenti. Il primo riguarda l'asciuttezza dell'esposizione: i tre strumenti risuonano secchi, né accattivanti né aridi. Ne consegue una benefica anti-retorica, che si ritrae dall'abbandono solistico. Il secondo persegue una durata quasi aforistica - se confrontata con altre esperienze consimili - dei singoli episodi, con l'effetto di ottenere dall'ascolto una concentrazione costante. L'ultimo vuole enfatizzare con equilibrio l'elemento ritmico del procedere improvvisativo, scegliendo in questo modo di mantenere un legame esplicito con la tradizione africana-americana. Il disco ha un esordio fulmineo. Una serie di frammenti (ritmi, timbri, cellule sparse) esplodono senza preavviso, quasi a cercare una forma da un blocco di materia indistinta. Dal terzo brano il discorso si placa, e si rivelano trame narrative di matura compostezza lirica. In seguito le due anime sonore si intrecciano con bella varietà, proponendo anche tre duetti a rotazione, fino al picco espressivo costituito da "Taktlos 3", entusiasmante improvvisazione su base jazzistica, che conferma le doti anche squisitamente tecniche delle tre soliste. Dei dodici episodi, nove sono registrati in studio, tre dal vivo al festival di Taktlos dello scorso anno. Sylvie Courvoisier si inscrive nella feconda tradizione di eccellenti pianiste contemporanee, spesso utilizzando lo strumento in chiave percussiva; Joelle Léandre conferma una versatilità squisita al contrabbasso, con una performance molto "fisica", toccando ogni gamma possibile sia nel pizzicato che nell'uso dell'archetto; infine Susie Ibarra troneggia con discrezione dietro i tamburi, con una finezza impalpabile nei momenti pacati della musica e una potenza assertiva, plastica, in quelli più aggressivi. Valutazione: * * * *
Stefano Merighi, www.allaboutjazz/italy.com

Sylvie Courvoisier-Jacques Demierre. Deux Piano. INTAKT CD 064

Characterful
Intakt continues its exceptional standard of releases with the latest collaboration between two Swiss pianists who are longtime partners. Courvoisier is now resident in New york, and composes in both contemporary classical and jazz fields, working with Mark Feldman, Joëlle Léandre and Ikue Mori, while Demierre has mainly partnered European improvisers. Their brief, often spare duet pieces are abstract yet characterful, frequently using interior piano sounds. A higher effect is aimed for on Ecorce, with its macabre tolling on plucked strings.
Andy Hamilton, The Wire, London, February 2002


Under ordinary circumstances, many of us would guess that a pairing of two improvising pianists, performing in parallel, might translate into an all out blitz, duel or slugfest. Well, that supposition represents the antithesis of this newly released recording, simply titled Deux Pianos. Here, pianists Sylvie Courvoisier and Jacques Demierre render intuitive call and response type dialogue via hushed tones, animated choruses, rhythmically charged block chords and intricate harmonic invention. The pianists pursue demure dreamscapes amid counterbalancing melodies along with the occasional - prepared piano - style implementations. With the piece titled, 'Axe', the duo produces ominous sounding motifs, atop subtle declarations and quaint lyricism. Throughout, the musicians exercise restraint as they establish a communiqué and mode of attack that is based upon concisely stated or fragmented sequences. Essentially, neither of these fine musicians cross paths or in simpler terms, step all over each other. Deux Pianos represents a dynamic learning process, where the musicians exchange fleeting notions on the fly. However, the beauty lies within the artistís clever reformulation of applied or suggestive concepts that they expand into substantial frameworks for additional explorations.
Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz, USA, March 2001
(Licensed with permission from AllAboutJazz.com. Copyright © 2001 All About Jazz and Glenn Astarita)

 

Vorliegende CD ist das Ergebnis einer zweitägigen Aufnahmesession im Februar 1999 mit Sylvie Courvoisier und Jacques Demierre an zwei Flügeln: ein intensiver Dialog zwischen der Lausanner Musikerin und ihrem ehemaligen Lehrer aus Genf, bei dem die beiden Persönlichkeiten und ihre jeweilige Manifestation am Instrument so eng ineinander verzahnt sind, dass man meist nur ein Klavier zu hören glaubt. Zarte, impressionistische Studien, heftige Clusterfolgen, kontrastreiche Streitgespräche prägen das subtile Zusammenspiel zwischen Courvoisier und Demierre. Die Stücke sind kurz, tragen karge Titel wie “Axe”, “Instant” oder “Intime”, lassen trotz der zugrundeliegenden, klar erkennbaren formalen Richtlinie Platz für spontane Erweiterungen und enden interessanterweise meist mit einem Fragezeichen. Eine sehr mitteleuropäische Produktion aus dem Grenzbereich zeitgenössische Musik/Avantgarde-Jazz
schu, Concerto, Wien, April 2001

Selcection SWISS RADIO INTERNATIONAL, 2001