Dave Liebman: Renewal, Depth of Emotion, Music from the KOPAFestival 2006, Vol. 1 & Negative Space
Dave Liebman/Ellery Eskelin
Depth of Emotion
Dave Liebman/Roberto Tarenzi/Paolo Benedettini/Tony Arco
No matter what the context, singular multi-reedist Dave Liebman always lays down original, emotion-rending sounds.
Liebman and fellow tenor Ellery Eskelin complement each other beautifully on Renewal. An elephantine murmur of tenor and bass glissando opens the energetic "Cha," a volatile mix of free jazz, R&B and jazz-rock, with dynamite acoustic bass licks by Tony Marino echoing the Yes classic "Roundabout." Liebman absolutely tears up "The Decider," which moves from a kind of New Orleans dirge to more blistering funk, ably assisted by Jim Black's thrashing percussion and more of Eskelin's intense upper register wailing. Eric Dolphy's "Out There," in a free-bop arrangement, is a natural fit for this band while the evocative title cut is an almost Ellingtonian ballad. Liebman and Eskelin's howling at the center of "Palpable Clock" is the plunger that dynamites the standard blues structure and "Dimi and the Blue Man," with evocative vocalizing and Black's opulent percussion, moves the band into world music territory. "IC" is so reminiscent of Ornette that he is probably trying to figure out when he wrote it.
Liebman doubles on soprano sax and Indian flute on Depth of Emotion, where he joins Ed Saindon, himself a triple threat on vibes, marimba and piano. "The Last Goodbye" and "The Healing" have a classical pedigree, save for Liebman's intermittent upper register wails and flutter effects. "On Green Dolphin Street" is played in a different key and is well-executed, particularly Saindon's 'four-handed' playing and some nice pizzicato by bassist David Clark. "Moon River," with Saindon on piano, becomes a bopper with Liebman's blistering solo over the rhythm section. The waltz "Tokyo Nights" and "Sao Paolo" find the band cooking in the guise of a conventional quartet, Saindon again on piano. The Latin "Giorgio's Theme" pairs up flute with marimba to produce a sexy tango. Another waltz, "Alpine Sunset," finds Saindon back on vibes to accompany Liebman and Clark in a chamber jazz vein.
The KOPAfestival in 2006 was a mélange of genres, including fusion and Third Stream played by Liebman and some of Scandinavia's finest musicians. The cut "So It Seems" has Liebman, on soprano, and tenor man Cennet Jönsson in well-coordinated wailing and honking in the upper register. Krister Jonsson's take-no-prisoners electric guitar, with its distorted echo effect, gives the tune a deeper feeling, especially over drummer Peter Nilsson's gnashing. Liebman doubles on flute and soprano for "The Eve," an East Indian-influenced epic; Liebman and Jönsson's high-pitched sopranos sounding like two birds shouting in the trees. Every small flourish enhances the collective improvisation, building vivacious dialogue.
Negative Space, a live disc recorded in Italy, further highlights Liebman's polite disdain for the head-solos-head school. Opening with his tune "G.I.G." Liebman gives the rhythm section plenty of room to express their ideas while the title cut is a characteristically impressionistic piece. "Get Me Back to the Apple," another Liebman original, is as challenging as running along a tightrope. Tony Arco's opening drum statement sets up Liebman's quicksilver soprano and Roberti Tarenzi's wonderfully hyperactive piano. "Poinciana" and "Afro Blue" are handled nicely on tenor, with Liebman blowing the former song to bits and raising a ruckus on the latter, a tribute to the John Coltrane Quartet but without mimicry. Not surprising because originality has been Liebman's calling card for decades.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: Cha; The Decider; Out There (take 2); Renewal; Palpable Clock; Dimi and the Blue Man; IC; Free Ballad; Out There (take 1).
Personnel: David Liebman: tenor saxophone; Ellery Eskelin: tenor saxophone; Tony Marino: double bass; Jim Black: drums and percussion.
Depth of Emotion
Tracks: The Last Goodbye; The Healing; Green Dolphin Street; Moon River; Tokyo Nights; Giorgio's Theme; Sao Paulo; Alpine Sunset; The Healing (alt. take); Piano Solo Reflections: Piazzolla; Joyful Sorrow; Silent Serenity; 18th's Child; Life's Dreams.
Personnel: Dave Liebman: soprano saxophone, Indian flute; Ed Saindon: vibes, piano, marimba; David Clark: acoustic bass; Mark Walker: drums.
Music from the KOPAfestival 2006, Vol. 1
Tracks: Introvut; Zenith; Cloudy Sunny; Long Way Home; Zone III; So It Seems; The Eve.
Personnel: Krister Jonsson: guitar; Nils Davidsen: electric bass; Peter Danemo: drums; Svante Henryson: cello; Mattias Hjorth: bass; Peter Nilsson: drums; Lotte Anker: alto saxophone; Andreas Andersson: soprano and baritone saxophones; Mats Holtne: guitar; Cennet Jönsson: soprano and tenor saxophones; David Liebman: soprano saxophone and flute.
Tracks: G.I.G.; Negative Space; Get Me Back to the Apple; Poinciana; Afro Blue.
Personnel: David Liebman: tenor and soprano saxophones; Roberto Tarenzi: piano; Paolo Benedettini: double bass; Tony Arco: drums.