Sort by newest | oldest
Hey John, really excellent review. Firstly, I agree with the point you make about how 'Unspoken' stands up to 'Knowing-Lee'. It must be very difficult, even for Konitz, to encroach upon the Beirach/Liebman phénomènon. 'Unspoken' has an organic wholeness which (perhaps) eludes 'Knowing-Lee'. Hardly surprising.
Furthermore, in my opinion, the listener must come to the Beirach/Liebman duo format with a grounding in the contemporary 'classical' repertoire. The reference you make to Scriabin had escaped me. (It's good to learn something from a review.)
Liebman is, for me, an odd bird. Bierach once urged him to dump the tenor. In his liner notes Jean-Louis Chautemps (great surname for a jazz critic) claims that Liebman sounds "even more convincing when he detaches himself (lit. "unglues"/'se désengluer', a neologism) from the Coltrane-isms". Thus the reason, I guess, for Beirach's entreaty.
On 'Awk Dance', for example, the '-isms' are on display. Now, I must admit, I'm not a great fan of Coltrane's music (enormous respect, but it doesn't touch me in the right places). Liebman's oddness for me consists in his having such a unique sound and technique on the soprano. Again, I understand Beirach's concerns. Even on 'Transition' it is Liebman playing, not a 'Trane clone.
I come to Beirach/Leibman not out of deference to their early group work, which I have never warmed to. Rather, I have what the Americans call a 'jones' (the French, 'une manie') for the duo format. I think Konitz and Warne Marsh started the fascination and ultimately the addiction
I want to amend an earlier statement. In order to appreciate this beautiful dialogue it is not necessary to come pre-armed with knowledge of the contemporary classical repertoire. It just helps to deconstruct it a little.
No stand-out track (a good sign). John mentioned the re-harmonisation of 'All the things'. Actually I have a bugbear about copyright issues in jazz. Does the melodic line determine ownership? Or is it the (class of admissible) chord progressions? I don't know the answer. But this rendering is almost a novel composition.
Over 40 years of friendship, hard times (their varied experiences with Lennie Tristano) and, above all, the musical equivalent of deep conversation are condensed into 'Unspoken'.
A beautiful, often haunting disc which has me going straight to the piano to try and work out how its done.
Thanks, again, for the insight, Ralph. FYI, my feeling about Lieb is that he does, of course, come from the post-Trane tradition, but his inherent (albeit often raw and cathartic) lyricism and attention to space make him his own man, without question.
Point taken and well made. I recognise that lyricism and space when he plays tenor. For me personally, Beirach is a major source of inspiration (esp. his work with violinist Heubner). I've taken it upon myself to really open my ears up to Liebman. He rarely pleases my ear on first listening but repays persistence.
John, just realised you've reviewed Humcrush's 'Ha'. It may surprise to learn that I really dig Humcrush. Was stimulated by your review and I love the addition of Sidsel Endresen. Shall respond there soon.
Best wishes John
Hey Ralph, nothing surprises me about ya :)
Saw Humcrush with Sidsel in Oslo this past summer, check it out: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=40279&pg=4#6
PS: My writing has been down this year for a variety of reasons. Hope to get it back to normal (20-25 cd reviews/month) next year.
Jared C. Balogh
Your email address
Your full name
Your first name
Your email address (this will remain private)
Antigua / Barbuda
Bosnia / Herzegowina
British Indian Ocean Territory
Central African Republic
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Congo (Dem. Republic)
Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
French Southern Territories
Heard / Mc Donald Islands
Isle of Man
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Northern Mariana Islands
Palestinian Territory, Occupied
Papua New Guinea
Saint Kitts / Nevis
Saint Vincent / the Grenadines
Sao Tome / Principe
St. Pierre / Miquelon
Svalbard / Jan Mayen Islands
Syrian Arab Republic
Trinidad / Tobago
Turks / Caicos Islands
United Arab Emirates
United States Minor Outlying Islands
Vatican City State
Virgin Islands (British)
Virgin Islands (U.S.)
Wallis / Futuna Islands
State (U.S. Only)
District Of Columbia
Your zip code (U.S. Only)
Your password (choose a strong password with 6+ characters)
(please enter it twice)
Human verification code(enter the numbers in the graphic)
Your email address
One moment, you will be redirected shortly.