How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
The opener on Manhattan Dialogues, most of which is composed by David Liebman, is his own "Teacher of Our Child. It's a comfortably melancholy rumination, yet more suggestive of the early hours of a morning after than of a kindergarten. By contrast, "7 only fleetingly lands on traditional melodic structure. Here Liebman (soprano and tenor saxophone) and Phil Markowitz (piano), who have been collaborating in various settings since the early '90s, trade musical fragments. Markowitz jumps around on the keys, occasionally giving out with cheerfully melodic outbursts that are punctuated by droll tweaks and sqeaks and lowdown moans from Liebman.
"Sno Peas, a 1979 Liebman tune, may previously be best remembered from Bill Evans and Toots Thielemans' Affinity. Here it's an opportunity for Markowitz's lengthy and lush phrases suddenly to turn meditative. It's in those darker moments that Liebman's warm sax lends sympathetic partnering. Two classics, "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes and "'Round Midnight, close the set with renditions that explore a complete harmonic range. Most notable is a solo with which Liebman opens the latter. As an intro to Dizzy Gillespie's melody, it's of a beauty whole and complete unto itself.
Recorded in a live session at New York's Manhattan School of Music, this duo plays outside of traditional categories like jazz or classical. As Markowitz has observed, what they're up for is music "...with no esthetic or restrictive barriers.
Track Listing: Teacher of Our Child; "7" Intro; "7"; Philippe Under the Green Bridge; Sno' Peas; Jung; Off
By One; Mahoning; The Night Has a Thousand Eyes; 'Round Midnight.
Personnel: David Liebman: soprano and tenor saxophones; Phil Markowitz: piano