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The Space Between with Joëlle Léandre
Paris Transatlantic
Dan Warburton

Californians have often turned their gaze westwards across the Pacific for inspiration, and there's a touch of the Orient to be found on The Space Between too, not only in the shakuhachi of TSB's Philip Gelb, but in the delicate brushwork of Pauline Oliveros' accordion and Dana Reason's piano. This is the second time TSB have invited a guest bassist to sit in (the last time round it was Barre Phillips), but Léandre sounds so comfortable it's as if she's been playing with the group for years. This trio's gentle lyricism - quiet and spacious without being dogmatically lowercase: practitioners of the ultra-minimal variety of improv would do well to lighten up and check this group out - has always set them apart from the rest of the crowd, even in the improv hotbed that is the Bay Area, and Léandre, whose background in contemporary classical music reveals itself strongly here, is in her element. Not only can everyone play damn well, but they all know exactly when to stop : compare the way these pieces end to the depressingly frequent is-it-over-yet-I-think-so-but-maybe-I'll-just-wait-to-make-sure fizzling out that's become something of a cliché in improv in recent times.

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