Le Quan Ninh & Michel Doneda | I Space | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Le Quan Ninh & Michel Doneda Recommended Free All Ages Soundboard

When: Fri., March 6, 7 p.m. 2009

These two French improvisers helped blaze a trail that’s now as well trafficked as a four-lane highway: they were both pioneers in the highly abstract discipline of so-called lower­case improv, where gestures replace phrases and instruments shrug off their conventional identities. Percussionist Le Quan Ninh especially likes to use found objects in his daring improvisations; on his brilliant 1996 solo album Ustensiles (For 4 Ears) they include dried chickpeas and aluminum foil. These days he usually plays what he calls “surrounded bass drum,” setting the instrument on its side so that its membrane becomes a sound-producing tabletop, then rubbing it, striking it, or simply setting things down on it and letting them vibrate—he uses sticks and stones, singing bowls, gongs, ball bearings, Styrofoam, and pine cones, among other implements. Saxophonist Michel Doneda is one of Le Quan’s longest-term collaborators—their 1995 album with bassist Paul Rogers, Open Paper Tree (FMP), is a classic—and though he often uses recognizable saxophone sounds, he’s just as inventive and exploratory. The duo improvises tonight with a pair of experimental dancers, Amii LeGendre and Kirstie Simson. —Peter Margasak


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