417

David Liebman / Ellery Eskelin: Different But the Same

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
David Liebman / Ellery Eskelin: Different But the Same On first inspection, teaming up saxophonists Dave Liebman and Ellery Eskelin might seem to have the potential for an acute dose of musical schizophrenia. But closer consideration reveals that there is indeed a meeting point. Eskelin may have a reputation as a free player, but he's equally concerned with bringing more traditional aspects into his wildly exploratory work. Liebman, on the other hand, may come from a stronger background in the mainstream jazz tradition, though he is by no means a straight-ahead player, and he's certainly no stranger to the greater extremes offered by free improvisation.

And so, on Different But the Same, we find two saxophonists converging on a middle ground that somehow incorporates both elements into a surprisingly cogent blend. And while they find common turf, there is no compromise in sight. With each saxophonist bringing along one player with a longstanding association—in Liebman's case it's bassist Tony Marino, who has been a part of Liebman's groups of the past few years; Eskelin brings along the ever-versatile drummer Jim Black, whose shared relationship dates back over a decade—the meeting is certainly democratic. It's fascinating to hear Black in a more traditional arena than his usual, and to find Marino playing with a greater sense of freedom.

With a set containing originals from both, but also reaching back with interpretations of material by Tadd Dameron, Lee Konitz, Wayne Shorter, and Cole Porter, Different But the Same demonstrates that Liebman and Eskelin share far more than they differ. In fact, the two approach the music with such a similar sensibility that, according to Liebman, "I can't always tell the difference myself," with Eskelin indicating that this was "the result of natural musical choices and the joy in speaking a shared language." Fortunately, the recording places Liebman on the left channel and Eskelin on the right, so despite remarkably simpatico approaches, it's not difficult to identify each player.

Even compositionally there are more similarities than differences. Liebman's "The Gun Wars" begins with a furious drum solo from Black, only to be joined by Marino, Liebman, and Eskelin in one of the most extreme segments of free playing of the set, before settling into an out-of-time unison theme that helps provide some form, albeit couched in a purely unstructured rhythmic backdrop. Eskelin's "How Do I Know" is no less outré, but less intense in nature. And Shorter's "Vonetta" is treated with a more open approach than the original.

Dameron's "Gnid," with its more defined pulse and traditional harmonies, is the most mainstream piece of the set, while Liebman's "Tie Those Laces" combines open-ended improvisation with a humorously idiosyncratic theme. Eskelin's "You Call It" revolves around a three-note phrase, but it demonstrates just how far such a simple conceit can be taken.

Rather than being a dichotomous curiosity, Different But the Same instead reveals how even if two players share a common goal, the route each one takes to get there can be very different indeed.

Track Listing: Tie Those Laces; Gnid; You Call It; Different But the Same; What is This Thing: Subconsciousl-Lee, Hot House, What is This Thing Called Love; How Do I Know; Vonetta; The Gun Wars,

Personnel: Dave Liebman: tenor saxophone; Ellery Eskelin: tenor saxophone; Tony Marino: double-bass; Jim Black: drums, percussion.

Title: Different But the Same | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Hatology


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roll On CD/LP/Track Review Roll On
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Pandora's Bag CD/LP/Track Review Pandora's Bag
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Float The Edge CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 25, 2017
Read The Attic CD/LP/Track Review The Attic
by John Sharpe
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Outside The Comfort Zone CD/LP/Track Review Outside The Comfort Zone
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Unspoken" CD/LP/Track Review Unspoken
by Andrew Luhn
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "A Dark and Stormy Day" CD/LP/Track Review A Dark and Stormy Day
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 1, 2017
Read "92 Years Young: Jammin' At The Gibbs House" CD/LP/Track Review 92 Years Young: Jammin' At The Gibbs House
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 5, 2017
Read "The Twilight Fall" CD/LP/Track Review The Twilight Fall
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 9, 2017
Read "Risc" CD/LP/Track Review Risc
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 29, 2016
Read "Tributango" CD/LP/Track Review Tributango
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 13, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!