Michel Doneda/Daunik Lazro/Lê Quan Ninh

Michel Doneda/Daunik Lazro/Lê Quan Ninh Michel Doneda (soprano saxophone), Daunik Lazro (alto saxophone), Lê Quan Ninh (percussion)

Thillana (1:10), Paradi, parada, jelenia polska (4:50), Le chien à trois têtes (5:27), Eos III (14:50), Lune de quatre heures (7:40), Prespansko (4:22), Le souverain jaune (9:26), Hydrelerne (6:45)

Recorded on January 26, 1988 at Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy | Graphic Design by Toffe. Drawing by Ronald Curchod

In Situ 37

Reviewed by: Ben Watson for the magazine The Wire #101 (UK) - July 1992

Lazro/Doneda/Ninh (26/1/88) is like an evening spent with a couple of symphony saxophonists who consume a bottle of gin at a dockside cafe and then proceed to play misremembered sea-shanties whilst accompanying themselves by kicking dustbins around. It’s great. Percussionist Le Quan Ninh has played John Cage and it shows in his lopsided rhythms and penchant for metal. Michel Doneda (soprano) and Daunik Lazro (alto) are gutsy and direct. Maybe their playing is finally too formal to reach all possible interstices, but winning knock about stuff anyway.
Reviewed by: François Couture for the site All Music

This is a beautiful album and a surprising one when rediscovered in the light of the directions Daunik Lazro, Michel Doneda, and Lê Quan Ninh took afterwards. The latter two in particular are known for their involvement in highly abstract free improvisation (Lazro has kept relatively closer ties to the jazz idiom). This trio formed in Poland (of all places) around a street theater troupe and recorded this session in January 1988. It has the vivacity of folk music from Eastern Europe, plus the immediacy and playfulness of street music. Lazro and Doneda's saxophones (alto and soprano, respectively) lead the way throughout, developing contrapuntal melodies and intertwining solos while Ninh plays off-kilter beats on a drum set consisting of trash cans, Asian percussion, and a wild assortment of mismatched parts. Each musician contributes two compositions and the group steals a Yugoslavian tune ("Prespansko") and a Hindu piece from South India ("Thillana"). Their music parallels the work of Jean Derome and René Lussier at the time, avant-garde jazz crossed with Qué bec folk and street fanfare. The compositions leave a lot of room for improvisation, but they are better when tighter. Doneda's "Eos III," 15 minutes long, is overstretched and looses its purpose halfway through, but the other tracks compensate, especially "Paradi Parada, Jelenia Polska" and "Le Souverain Jaune." Fans of Ninh's contemporary classical work with Quatuor Hêlios or of Doneda's solo disc Anatomie des Clefs are in for a surprise with this lively disc.