Free jazz is and will always be a fertile mind-field, an active landscape where veterans such as the quintet here at Smalls, post-plague, in a city pulled apart by fact and fiction, pull all their resources and years together to create and sustain an elemental connection, a trust with themselves, with the surrounding, extant forces, with the greater spirit and will of all.
Each participant states his case then pleads it. An open, democratic forum results in a give-and-take not found anywhere else but in these settings not in congress, not in parliament, not even in your community town hall or school board. This is free speech, free thought, free reason.
So "The Beginning," "The Middle," and "The End" are just titles, a mooring of the mind to something as esoterically suggestive and borderless as this seventy-five-minute voyage of fearless, interior exploration. Gathered onstage by NEA Jazz Master Liebman, the next generation of thinkers and creatorsEvans, bassist John Hébert, pianist Leo Genovese and the incomparable percussion of Tyshawn Sorey (himself a future jazz master in the making) take on the fevered squalls and quiescent sea of inspiration to witness the collective anxiety of this current moment dissipate, then coalesce into and with the music past present, and future. A newly minted nugget in the Smalls' Live Living Masters Series, Dave Liebman: Live at Smalls takes its place in the larger spectrum of ideas which does exist if only we would open ourselves to the infinite possibilities that these musicians give themselves to as a matter of course, with a genuine respect and enthusiasm which makes performances like this one not only possible, but memorable.
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