Dave Liebman: The Seasons Reflected &These Are Them

Jeff Stockton By

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The Seasons Reflected

Soul Note

The Seasons Reflected offers Gunnar Mossblad, augmenting his own Manhattan Saxophone Ensemble (Steve Wilson, Tom Christensen and Dave Riekenberg) with percussionist Chris Hanning and Dave Liebman, a chance to present an ambitious song cycle that attempts to recreate the seasons in song and the phases of the day in sound. "Sunrise opens with tinkling wind chimes and a yawning wooden flute. A gong signals "Dawn , while the unique timbre of a solo oboe, sheet-metal percussion and malleted bells mark its fleeting moments. "Dusk winds down with chirping flutes and rolling tympani. Mossblad's own pieces are integrated with Liebman's and the musicians' ability to double and triple on reeds forms an improvised symphony where six players do the work of 18. Liebman and Mossblad put their backs into their soprano sax battle on "Fall Colors ; the ensemble whistles like tea kettles on "Winter Light ; the three-way skittering horns of "Spring Flowers transform into the glorious, four-part melody of "Summer Play . "Sunset concludes with profound African drumming, the sound of Liebman's wooden flute and the single tap of a triangle, joining it to the first sound heard on "Sunrise , as day follows night.

Al Ashley with Dave Liebman

These are Them


It's good to hear Liebman's tenor again (which he alternates with soprano) so prominently on These Are Them, a straight ahead post bop date that starts out as Liebman fronting a conventional organ trio: Oliver Von Essen on the keys, Rick Stone comping on guitar and Al Ashley playing solid, unflashy drums. But by the last track, as Liebman's hard-driving tenor slowly fades into silence, by virtue of their consummate skill and selflessness, the band is backing him. Session leader Ashley never takes a solo and I kept having to check the liner notes to make sure there was no bassist, since the rumbling undercurrent Von Essen supplies is rhythmically inventive and unflagging. The tunes generally open with a statement of melody, break into a solo or two and resolve with the melody restated in the "Blue Note style (as referenced on the lead cut) of Blakey, Grant Green and Jimmy Smith. Liebman, for his part, sounds like the Sonny Rollins of today, early '60s Coltrane, and no one but his versatile and spiritually generous self on this swinging collection.

Tracks and Personnel

The Seasons Reflected

Tracks: 1. Sunrise, 2. Fall Colors, 3. Dawn, 4. Winter Light, 5. Dusk, 6. Spring Flowers, 7. Summer Play, 8. Sunset,

Personnel: Dave Liebman-soprano saxophone, wooden flute, Gunnar Mossbland-sprano, tenor, alto flute, Steve Wilson-alto, clarinet, flute, soprano, Tom Christensen-tenor, soprano, clarinet, oboe, English horn, Dave Riekenberg-baritone, soprano, tenor, bass clarinet, Chris Hanning-drums and percussion

These are Them


1. Blue Note, 2. These Are Them, 3. Perfect Day, 4. The Other Time, 5. Relative Minority, 6. Fats Write, 7. Look at What We Do to Ourselves,

Personnel: Dave Liebman-tenor and soprano saxophones, Rick Stone-guitar, Oliver Von Esson-organ, Al Ashley-drums


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