FESTIVAL JAZZ EN SOL MINEUR, Longwy (F) (August 20, 2016)
To see and to listen to Sascha Ley and Laurent Payfert in concert, is really something. On one side: a woman, singer, composer and actress, in short a complete artist, who shares a great pleasure with the audience to exploring her voice and bending it in every direction. On the other: a man and his other half, the double bass, which he knows by heart. From compositions extracted from their album "The Wee Hours" to covers and frenzied improvisations: you leave a concert by Sascha Ley and Laurent Payfert with balm for your soul.
During the evening, the duo presents some original definitely jazz compositions, e.g. "Pilgrim Of Happiness". Avant-garde pieces follow, where Sascha Ley explores all facets of her voice. Singing, crying, laughing loud, imitating a cat on a highway in a fast-paced improvisation, everything goes. She mixes her voice with a loop station and plays and also distorts Laurent Payferts voice, the moment he takes the microphone; a hilariously entertaining moment for the audience.
Both musicians come up with a solo feature as well. Sascha Ley first connects ancestral chants with African and Asian influence (she studied singing in Mumbai, India) and pauses shortly after this exploration. Using the loop station, she brilliantly develops a rhythm section, serving as a base to sing over with more voices, a simply magical instant. The audience responds with an ovation. Her partner concludes the concert with his personal composition "Ballade Bleue". During the concert, several tributes are given in particular to the late David Bowie with a beautiful cover of "Ashes To Ashes" and an unexpected whistled refrain. The audience does not want to stop applauding and eventually leaves the auditorium, entranced.
Kévin Kroczek, LAND Kultur 08/26/16
JAZZ PODIUM (D)
In case you know Sascha Ley, you will know what to expect from this CD. The Saarbrücken born vocal artist from Luxembourg, who also works as an actress and composer, is – if one may say so – without parallel in Europe. Melodious, expressive and with stunning lyrics (three of which can be found on the cover). Of course she makes ample use of her voice, not only when reciting/singing the lyrics, but also in order to perform them in a moving manner; in every respect an extraordinary singer and musician. She is accompanied by the bass player Laurent Payfert and thereby connected to the entire spectrum of acoustic music this enchanting solo artist stands for. There is a lot of storytelling, acting and improvisation involved in each of these songs. Here we find music and drama combined in a unique way. 11/2015 Hans-Jürgen von Osterhausen
The Luxembourgish vocalist Sascha Ley has been trained among others in Amsterdam. She practices what she calls herself "instant composing". You might know Sascha from the ensemble Kalima with a pianist and a saxophone player (see the Jazzflits 200 review of the CD „Everything Within“). On "The Wee Hours" she presents an improvising duo with the double bassist Laurent Payfert. It is an album with a lot of improvisation and just a few songs. No standards. The "normal" songs (“Pilgrim of Happiness”, “Naam Cha Cha” and ”Ballade Bleue”) feature the vocalist who really can sing. Moving off the beaten paths even here. The remaining pieces seem improvised on the spot. As in “Aiutami”, as well as in “The Wee Hours” and “What's Up” she keeps playing with words and melody, with the sound possibilities of the mouth and throat. Sascha is accompanied by an inventive double bass. In some pieces loops serve as a basis for the improvisation. “India Callin’” delivers many opportunities for voice and bass variations by trying to contact India through a bumpy connection, including Indian rhythms and vocal sounds. Fans of Greetje Bijma will enjoy this album for sure. 08/15 Hessel Fluitman
CD tip of the month of June 2015 ! An exciting journey through jazz, instant composing and improvisation. Being only two, the duo explores the sonic possibilities of voice and bass, often onomatopoeic, with few but powerful lyrics. A kind of musical theater, that goes without pictures, but all the more creates impressive atmospheres. 06/15 Mane Stelzer
LUXEMBURGER WORT (L)
Atmospheric density and fearless tracks. A challenge to the jazz. A toxic, shattered and battered masterpiece. 06/15 Mike Dostert
LE JEUDI (L)
A royal voice. The album reveals both a bold and adventurous jazz. Sascha 's voice and Laurent’s double bass interact and infiltrate each other until they remove all locks and enter the world of sound on rarely explored paths. 06/15 Annie Gaspard
Hear sophisticated jazz. Sublime vocals and cool acoustic double bass. Their mix of jazz, popular songs, minimalist improvisation and even on-the-spot composition makes for a fascinating evening. (…) moving and seductive. 06/15 Duncan Roberts
RADIO GL (L)
A splendid new album! A splendid voice. 06/15 Paolo Travelli
RADIO ARA (L)
An album full of texture and colours! 06/15 Ron Tuffel
RADIO ARA (L)
A splendid job!! Paolo Travelli 05/15 Voices by Passaparola
Radio RUM Marburg (D)
CD of the week! An outstanding edition. Musically adventurous. 05/15 Constantin Sieg