What It Is: The Life of a Jazz Artist.(excerpt here) On this album they cover a wide range of music from fusion to avant-garde and beyond. The opening track "Olivier" harkens back to the time Liebman spent in Miles Davis's electrified ensembles of the early 1970's. Guitar and electric bass set a chugging groove for lighter textured soprano saxophone and electric piano to fill in and shade. Albert Ayler's "Omega Is the Alpha" is the highlight of the album, and just a wonderful performance. Marc Ribot is turned loose with some snarling electric guitar, digging deep into the music. Ribot leads an Ayler-based band called Spiritual Unity, so he is the perfect choice for this track. Liebman comes in on tenor saxophone, playing Ayler's spiritual-folk theme before taking the tune way out and leading a torrid collective improvisation. "Trigonometry" by Ornette Coleman has the leaders bouncy saxophone leading an intricate improvisation. Liebman's high spirited soprano saxophone moves back and forth in a swinging fashion and pushes through to another nice solo from Ribot. Dark piano opens the title track "Surreality" with bass and drums kicking in as guitar melds in and develops a powerful beat. The album wraps up with a haunting and beautiful rendition of John Coltrane's "Alabama" ushered in with deep bowed bass. Lewis Porter wrote a well received book about John Coltrane and Liebman counts him as his biggest influence, so there is a lot of pressure and poise here. The music is stoic and thoughtful, and builds to very powerful and emotionally wrought exclamations. Surreality - amazon.com
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