Dave Liebman / Evan Parker/ Tony Bianco: Relevance (2010)
Saxophonists Dave Liebman and Evan Parker have established careers as improvisers of the first order. Both are visionaries unafraid of taking risks, and fathoming unusual territory. Their impulses may be driven by fragments or lengthy declamations, but in the end they wrap it up with cohesive logic. The high level of skill is evident on this CD, recorded live at the Vortex in London for a BBC broadcast.
Liebman had long wanted to play with Parker, and his hopes materialized through drummer Tony Bianco, who arranged for the performance to take place. As Liebman tells it, they said "hello," went onstage and improvised two sets that each went on for over 70 minutes.
The empathy between the three, which is stunning, runs right across the sets, balanced between intense, driving improvisation and gentler, melodic permutations
How much intensity can two saxophonists derive? The answer comes on "Part 1," which has angular trajectories and quicksilver shards that never lag. The pace is intense, as Parker and Liebman engage each other through a host of intertwining elements. In a situation like this, with both playing soprano and tenor saxophones, it is difficult to tell them apart. But it is that very situation which makes the music amazing, as they establish and nourish a symbiotic relationship.
"Part 4" is the calm before the end. Bianco, the integral driving magnet of polyrhythm, is a surge of ideas that slowly raise the tempo. Liebman rinses it with a pastoral air on Indian bamboo flute, as he shapes a melody and then lets it blossom. Parker is introspective on tenor, as he caresses a steely edge and then unreels a tumble of nimble phrases.
Free, volatile and airily becoming, Liebman, Parker and Bianco pack it all in spades.
Track Listing: Relevance (1st Set) Part 1; Relevance (1st Set) Part 2; Relevance (2nd Set) Part 3; Relevance (2nd Set) Part 4.
Personnel: Dave Liebman: soprano and tenor saxophone, Indian bamboo flute; Evan Parker: soprano and tenor saxophone; Tony Bianco: drums.