Une Chance Pour l'Ombre

Kazue Sawai (koto), Kazuo Imai (guitar), Tetsu Saitoh (doublebass), Michel Doneda (soprano & sopranino saxophone), Lê Quan Ninh (percussion)

Une Chance Pour l'Ombre (63'00")

Recorded live by Alain Michon on May 28th, 2003 at Espace F. Mitterand in Lorgues (F). Production : Thierry Azam (MDLC)

Bab-Ili Lef 02

Reviewed by: Yoshihiko Nonomura in Improvised Music from Japan 2005

The mutual respect between Saitoh (contrabass) and Doneda (soprano sax.); the long time duo collaborations of Saitoh and Sawai (koto) and Doneda and Ninh (percussion); and the fact that Saitoh and Imai (guitar) had a common mentor in Masayuki Takayanagi - these things meant that when they all played together for the first time at the Victoriaville festival, the ensemble was alrready as intense as a regular, experienced unit. Each performance of their 2003 tour can be characterized from the standpoint of Sawai, who plays the only non-Western instrument in the unit. At Victoriaville she often used traditional koto phrases, and Saitoh accompanied her by imitating the koto or shamisen. The other three played as distantly as possible from Saitoh and Sawai, resulting in a divergent ensemble. Nine days later, in Lorgues, southern France, noisy sounds by Doneda and Ninh stood out, and the koto - as a string instrument - united with the guitar and the contrabass to fill the vacancies in the sound space. In contrast, the next set was filled with silence. These two sets represented, respectively, the dynamic and static aspects of this intense ensemble. These invaluable documents show that in true improvised music, each performance is completely different.