Since emerging in the early 1980s the French bassist, composer, and vocalist Joëlle Leandre has ignored the gaps between improvised and composed music, jazz and new music, inventively braiding post-Cagean concepts with the free jazz ferment she witnessed first-hand growing up in Paris. Accordion master and fellow countryman Pascal Contet was initially rooted in contemporary music, helping to bring it back as a viable, versatile instrument in experimental music, but throughout his long career he's also increasingly embraced free improvisation. Those diverse backgrounds and shared curiosity has made them natural artistic partners, a relationship that has endured for 30 years. Together they have forged a unique duo language built from deep experience and wide-open ears. Their joint practice is all about creating connections in real-time, but that development has only been documented on recordings a handful of times, each new transmission providing bracing updates on their collaboration. The duo tried something different with Miniatures, their fifth album together. Recorded in November of 2022 at Arsenal, Metz, France, the pair imposed a slight restriction on this set of improvisations, deciding from the outset to stick with shorter pieces, hence the title. Leandre and Contet have displayed an uncanny rapport from the beginning, but while most of their work has followed intuitive exchanges, with each musician coalescing or pushing against the flow to create new openings, the music on the new album generally finds them latching on to single spontaneous idea, exploring each nook and cranny. On a piece like "Miniature 2" the bassist begins with shadowy arco figures that seem straight out of a vintage suspense film, and soon she's shadowed by Contet's abstractions, which deliver creaky, wheezing textures and key noises more than the squeezebox's typical chordal swells. On the following piece Leandre sculpts a beautiful sequence of sighing arco melodies, with Contet cushioning and expanding those shapes with a delicate flow of chords that suggests that the fully improvised piece had been composed beforehand. On "Miniature 7" the duo walks a tightrope of fragile upper register gestures, a context further defined by Leandre's wordless vocals. Whether engaged in tumultuous interactions or more contemplative exchanges, the elasticity, listening ability, and generosity of Contet and Leandre has never been more profound.