Liames cs457









After adding the trombone on Intonarumori — with its register colliding with those of the strings — the Lisbon String Trio make an even greater departure by playing with Karoline Leblanc (b.1975, Québec) on piano on Liames (also recorded in May) — the one title in the series that means nothing to me. It's not the title that's a departure, of course, but the resources of the piano, both its fixed tuning & vast mechanics that can almost encompass a string trio, both in range & timbre. Playing inside the piano addresses some of the tuning flexibility issue (although it doesn't necessarily motivate using a piano in the first place) — and indeed let me note Ernesto Rodrigues's recent (although recorded in early 2015) duo album with Carlos Santos, called simply Piano, where they play a different style of "piano four hands" with Rodrigues inside & Santos outside — but there is still a question of balance between the instruments. Liames opens with two brief, more exploratory tracks, and slowly builds from there, becoming more pianistic as it goes. (The third track is longer than the first two combined, and the fourth & last is over half the album.) Leblanc, with whom I was not previously familiar, has apparently studied extensively with harpsichordists, and there is perhaps some of that (clanking) feel to some of her preparations, but the album itself takes on more of a romantic quality. (In fact, it highlights the romantic influences in the string harmonies at various points in this series, including on K'Ampokol Che K'Aay.) One might think of the classical piano quartet, which would involve substituting a violin for the bass here, and Liames certainly evokes that genre. (I can't really think of a comparable "free music" example, other than the string plus percussion albums that have been mentioned here so often already. And using bass, leaving the highest ranges to the piano, works just fine.) Environmental references once again fall more to the wayside, as the strings work to fill the piano's "interstices" with a variety of counterpoint (as opposed to simply reinforcing lines, as in the classical style). In this it differs from the more thoroughly classical articulation of Earnear (which also includes Mira) by being more impressionistic & rather less technical (although there is some matching of rubbed string contours & timbres between piano & other strings). Pizzicato is especially prominent at times, for instance opening the second track (which is perhaps the most like other moments in the series, and a highlight), and the strings go on to develop an almost 20th century Russian feel (even with something of a chase scene or two). By the end of this series, then, the whole production starts to sound normal: I mean, I start to get the impression that this isn't particularly novel music at all, although I still imagine that'd be anyone's first impression. There's more tonality, especially with the piano, but more in general than is initially apparent. Liames even starts to suggest a bit of lightness, as did Télépathie. There's probably more to be done with this piano quartet idea, particularly inside the piano, so we'll see (hear) what happens.... 12 August 2017. Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts

One of five live collaborations with The Lisbon String Trio of violist Ernesto Rodrigues, cellist Miguel Mira, and bassist Alvaro Rosso, Quebec pianist Karoline Leblanc accompanying on the piano as the 4th string in this open-minded equation of slowly intersecting improvisation creating an unusual tapestry of sound that ebbs and flows in exceptional ways. (Squidco)

[...] Ainsi sa rencontre avec la pianiste québécoise Karoline Leblanc dans Liames, qui définit l’intensité tout en conservant de la distance. En accompagnant le piano dans son rôle de quatrième instrument à cordes, travaillé à même ses entrailles, le trio convie Leblanc à étendre son jeu tout en s’intégrant parfaitement dans le dédale d’archets que bornent Mira et Rosso. [...] Franpi Barriaux (citizen jazz)