Contact: Dave Liebman / John Abercrombie / Marc Copland / Drew Gress / Billy Hart: Five On One (2010)
Such inspired musicianship is rare these days, when production values mysteriously appear perfect by electronic means. Thus the acoustic values of this intrepid album leap out of the speakers from which they are played. Abercrombie, for instance, is flamboyantly vocal on his own "Sendup." Hart dreams up a myriad colors for a full tonal spectrum of harmony on Gress' "My Refrain" and his own audacious "Lullaby for Imke," which floats like a still, glacial nocturne as the drummer guides it through the pitter-patter of his cymbals and battery of drums. Copland and Gress are so audibly beyond the pale that they seem ghostly in their approach to the music. Occasionally, however, they burst forth from their spirit-like abodes, as in Copland's magnificent modal piece, "Childmoon Smile," which is full of impressionistic suggestiveness; and Gress' own melodic deconstruction on "My Refrain," a reverential comment on Bill Evans' "My Romance."
The icing on the proverbial cake is the retelling of Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz's "You and the Night and the Music." Here once was a quiet, crepuscular piece with every possible shade night, from grey to blue to purple. Now, in its place stands a breathtaking sweep of harmonic brilliance rushed through at almost breakneck speed, but with precision in melody and time. The pulse of the piece is now perfectly deconstructed and put back together again with mystical dexterity. It is a nimble work now; absent is the noir-ish effect. Absent also is the mournful, almost dervish-like mood. In its place is a sparkle that keeps the nocturnal imagery alive, but spotlights it all with something new and wholly magnificent.
This album is a veritable masterpiece. Its echo comes from the soul of the musicians and it is heard and felt first in the heart then in the ear where it resonates with brilliance throughout the breathtaking sweep of the music.
Track Listing: Sendup; Like It Never Was; Childmoon Smile; Four On One; Lost Horizon;; Retractable Cell; My Refrain; Lullaby for Imke; You and the Night and the Music.
Personnel: Dave Liebman: tenor and soprano saxophones; John Abercrombie: guitar; Marc Copland: piano; Drew Gress: bass; Billy Hart: drums.
Record Label: Pirouet Records