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Firedance by Joelle Leandre & India Cooke

Firedance is a collection of improvised dialogs between violinist India Cooke and bassist Joelle Leandre recorded at last year's Guelph (Ontario) Jazz Festival. It's heady stuff alright, free as it comes, but don't let that scare you away. Past the occasional shriek and flurries of microtones, the women play with a good sense of humor, too.

The disc consists of seven improvisations, each titled "Firedance" and sequentially numbered. Violinist Cooke sometimes plucks the strings and sometimes bows them, eliciting different sounds and moods. Some of the jazz is atonal, others wildly melodious. Given a solo on "Firedance 6," Cooke offers something that could be described as an avant-garde hoe-down. Leandre matches Cooke in intensity on the remaining duets, yet she appears happy to play mainly behind her musical partner.

This recording features lively and engaging string jazz. In the liner notes, India Cooke describes the duo as "points of light offering the highest good," and it is fairly high-minded stuff. But it's fun, too; there's even a little tap dance thrown in. A unique date for the adventurous to enjoy.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Joelle Leandre & India Cooke
  • CD Title: Firedance
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Red Toucan
  • Rating: Four Stars
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