“This is proudly proclaimed to be composed music, though many of the players, including Paul herself (who has played with Anthony Braxton), are associated with the free improvisation/jazz scene(s), clarinetist Chris Speed and bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck being the best known. There are two pieces, the two-movement Steps to Stairs, which opens the album, and California Quintet, in six movements. The music is entirely tonal, perhaps a bit influenced by Minimalism in its gestures, but not in its structures: it develops more quickly and switches moods more often. The contrasting timbres of strings and woodwinds-the latter dominating-are handled adeptly and do a lot to keep the music sparkling and attractive.” (skirlrecords.com)
-The Big Takeover
Trenza features Leah Paul on flute/compositions, Michel Gentile (alto flute,) Chris Speed (clarinet,) Ben Kono (oboe,) Sara Schoenbeck (bassoon,) Rob Jost (french horn,) Tanya Kalmanovitch (viola,) and Peter Sachon (cello.)
Steps to Stairs – 1
Steps to Stairs – 2
California Quintet – 1
California Quintet – 2
California Quintet – 3
California Quintet – 4
California Quintet – 5
California Quintet – 6
Leah Paul’s new album “Bike Lane” is a collection of composed music featuring Chris Speed (clarinet,) Jessica Pavone (viola,) Katie Young (bassoon,) and Leah Paul (flutes.) The pieces Leah has written for this group explore the lush range of textures and timbres these instruments have in common, while maintaining her rich melodic sensibilities. The inspiration for this album is the ever-merging scenes of classical, improvised, and rock music that are unique to New York City. It is composed chamber music channeling pop structure, with an improvisational spirit and feel.
The musicians featured on Bike Lane are all equally versed in classical and improvised traditions, thus creating a unique fluidity of phrasing and interpretation. These pieces were designed to sound bigger than the sum of their parts, and through Leah’s writing and orchestration this is achieved with an organic sounding ease. Every track on the album evokes a different vignette. Innovative and unexpected turns keep the listener engaged on this fast-moving journey through reedy brisk soundscapes and songs.
All nine tunes here are fully composed, treated with translucent contrapuntal arrangements, a serene timbre, and a sweet articulation of their pretty and elegant melodies. In fact, while operating like a sophisticated chamber ensemble, the quartet reveals a wonderfully fluid, graceful pop sensibility. There’s nothing cheap or shallow about the music, but the themes lodge in the memory like radio hits.