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Live Reviews

The David Liebman Group at the Deerhead Inn

By Published: November 6, 2006
When Juris came on board, the group did a Liebman original called "A Brite Piece, recorded with Elvin Jones in the early '70's. The contrast with the "trio was striking. Juris shifted the whole atmospheric of the group, lending it a funky feeling and utilizing amplification and reverberation to create a panoply of sustained chords mixed with lines reminiscent of Wes Montgomery. Next, the group executed an extraordinary performance of "Stardust, in which Liebman used his consummate harmonic skills to create some of the most beautiful rapid-fire improvisations I've ever heard, including a passage which sounded like several contrapuntal lines combined into one. The energy generated by Liebman led the group into a kind of overdrive such as occurs when you throw a sports car into a lower gear at high speed. Marino's bass solos took on unsparing emotionality, and Marcinko let loose on drums and various hand-held percussion insturuments. With a composition called "Anubis, in which Liebman played an intro on a small bamboo flute, the suggestion of a Middle Eastern belly dancer combined with "all stops out expressions in various jazz idioms created an almost unbearable intensity. Only Liebman's musical discipline brought just the measure of control to bring the two sets to a barely-restrained and utterly magnificent climax. The otherwise sedate "family audience applauded and cheered ecstatically.

Earlier, the evening was given a tender touch when Dave introduced his fourteen-year old daughter Lydia, a vocal student, and brought her on with the group to sing Jobim's "Dindi, made famous of course by Astrud Gilberto. Lydia has a beautiful, sultry voice and a precision she must have learned from her father. She did a wonderful rendition which I'm sure would have pleased Mr. Jobim had he heard it. I was also very touched by the rapport of father and daughter in this situation.

The Deerhead Inn is a jazz venue which is owned by dedicated new management and offers a unique combination of a very hip music joint with family values, a warm, friendly staff, and the bucolic casualness of a country inn. No wonder guys like Liebman, Keith Jarrett, John Coates, Jr., and Phil Woods are more than happy to perform there whenever they can. If you city folks from the New York and Philadelphia areas want a relaxed day or weekend in the country combined with some of the best jazz you'll hear anywhere, the Deerhead is the place to go. And they have overnight accommodations as well.

Personnel: David Liebman, tenor and soprano saxophones; Victor Juris, guitar; Tony Marino, bass; Marko Marcinko, drums.


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