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Léandre/Houle/Strid - Last Seen Headed

Wilbur MacKenzie, AllAboutJazz

Léandre’s trio with Vancouver clarinetist François Houle and Swedish percussionist Raymond Strid on Last Seen Headed represents a continuation of some longstanding associations. Houle is a master at highlighting the sonic properties that lie in the cracks between conventional implementation of a clarinet reed. At any moment his contributions shift from mellifluous to granulated, suddenly sounding closer to electronically-synthesized sounds than any known acoustical phenomenon. Strid’s playing generally directs the group towards more freewheeling aggression, though he remains an attentive listener and does just as much to promote the exploration of subtlety, offering some of the most effective entrances and exits by an improviser on record. Houle and Léandre generally remain constant while Strid often opts to lay out, waiting for the perfect moment to come in, either to signal a new direction or add to the established texture. This is the trio’s second release and evidently they have plenty of shared experience upon which to build, as the ensemble deftly and seamlessly generates a vast palette of color.