Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Dave Liebman Group - Turnaround: The Music of Ornette Coleman (Jazzwerkstatt, 2010)

Veteran saxophonist and flute player Dave Liebman is most well known for his interpretations of the music of John Coltrane and his former employer Miles Davis. This album covers the music of free jazz saxophone pioneer Ornette Coleman, and Liebman and his group with Vic Juris on guitar, Tony Marino on bass and Marko Marcinko on drums and percussion take a fresh approach to Coleman's music, one that is quite successful. Most of the songs on this collection come from Coleman's tenure with Atlantic Records during the late 50's and early 60's and "Enfant" and "Turnaround" set the stage with agile playing on the knotty themes Coleman was famous for. "Kathelin Grey" begins with delicate acoustic guitar and evolves into a beautiful and melodic ballad featuring a lot of open space. Liebman moves to soprano saxophone for "Bird Food" meshing his swirling sax with swinging guitar, then giving way to a rumbling fast drum solo. Coleman's famous composition "Lonely Woman" is a highlight of this set, as it is completely re-imagined featuring spare and spacey flute and electric guitar giving the music the feeling of a shamanistic ritual. "Cross Breeding" begins with a guitar and saxophone duet before the rest of the band fold in. The music builds wild and free with unfettered and exciting saxophone and drums. "Una Muy Bonita" has a nice Latin feel with strong percussion and tenor saxophone coming to the front. Liebman saves his strongest tenor playing for the final track, "The Sky," where he really lets go with emotional and free squalls of tenor saxophone sounding raw and anguished, before the rest of the band catches up and moves the music into a fairly conventional improvisation. This was a very successful album, Liebman and the band have a unique conception of the music of Ornette Coleman, and use that to interpret the songs in a fresh and exciting manner. Turnaround -

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