Enhanced by a pristine live recorded sound, these eminent improvisers dig deep while devising a multitude of ways to keep matters interesting and irrefutably entertaining. It’s improvisation at its finest, and quite a bit more than just the norm.
The duo is caught live at the New York space known as The Stone. And it’s largely about the musicians’ keen ability to roll off each other’s ideas via disparate and complementing tonalities. For example on the opener "Winter December #1," Joelle Leandre’s wily arco-bass passages are shaded by Kevin Norton’s creaky china cymbal swashes. But it’s a multitasking affair for Norton who toggles between the drum kit, percussion and vibes.
Within certain movements, Leandre scats and groans as the duo engages in linearly designed motifs and intertwining dialogues. It’s vast expressionism with a purpose. They paint an aural picture or two while proclaiming a sense of wonderment with unexpected shifts in momentum and converging lines. And in some spots, Leandre is apt to lull the listener into a state of bliss, as Norton abruptly changes the parameters with a crashing cymbal. In addition, they conjure up mood-evoking passages, witnessed by Leandre’s upper register phrasings on "Winter December #6," where she elicits notions of concern or perhaps despair. Simply stated, the musicians elevate the art of improvisation to loftier heights throughout the overall scope of this cunning and rather mind-bending effort.