Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dave Liebman - Lieb Plays the Blues a la Trane (Daybreak Records, 2011)

During an extensive tour playing the music of Kurt Weill and Alec Wilder, tenor and soprano saxophonist Dave Liebman thought the band needed a chance to take a break and play something different. Liebman, along with Marius Beets on bass and Eric Ineke on drums dove headlong into a set of blues compositions by or associated with John Coltrane. The results were excellent, recalling the dynamic nature of Liebman's recent successful tribute to Ornette Coleman. Opening with a re-imagined version of the Miles Davis classic "All Blues" from the Coltrane featured classic Kind of Blue, the band plays lengthy renditions of the music and are clearly inspired by the contents. Liebman avoided playing Coltrane for many years, worried that his all pervasive influence would affect his development as a saxophonist. But as those concerns faded, he was able to incorporate the Coltrane influence into his own unique style of playing. This is clearly shown on the scalding "Up Against the Wall," originally written by Coltrane as a civil rights statement, and the music has lost none of its power or symbolism as Liebman lead the band on tenor saxophone through a torrid and inspired improvisation. They shift gears to the equally fast paced "Mr P.C." which is an excellent showcase for Ineke's agile drumming and the relatively low key "Village Blues." Wrapping up with the swinging Duke Ellington composition "Take the Coltrane," the band goes out in grand style, demonstration not only the power and dynamism of the source material, but the deft musical agility of the band in performing it. Lieb Plays the Blues a La Trane -

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