462

Contact: Dave Liebman / John Abercrombie / Marc Copland / Drew Gress / Billy Hart: Five on One

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Contact: Dave Liebman / John Abercrombie / Marc Copland / Drew Gress / Billy Hart: Five on One They've played together in various permutations and combinations, but Five on One represents the first time they've joined together as a discrete unit. Reconvening the Second Look (Savoy, 1996) quartet—which comprises four-fifths of Contact— pianist Marc Copland proved you can go back again with Another Place (Pirouet, 2009). The quartet's bassist, Drew Gress, has also been a longstanding member of Copland's piano trio, last heard on Night Whispers: New York Trio Recordings Vol. 3 (Pirouet, 2009). Its drummer, Billy Hart, teamed with saxophonist Dave Liebman in Quest, a late-'80s group that reunited for a 2005 tour, documented on Redemption: Live in Europe (Hatology, 2007). Finally, guitarist John Abercrombie was a charter member of the 1970s group Lookout Farm with Liebman. Closing the circle, Liebman and Copland are no strangers, having joined forces for the duo recording Bookends, and quartet set Lunar, both released in 2002 on Switzerland's Hatology label.

Contact brings these five players together for an egalitarian set of eight originals and one standard—a surprisingly open-ended look at the enduring classic, "You and the Night and the Music," which runs the gamut from a dark, modal vamp that immediately speaks Copland's distinctive harmonic voice (and provides a unique context for the song's familiar melody) to fiercely swinging grist for some uncharacteristically outgoing solo playing from the normally pensive pianist.

It's the very combination of a pianist who, more often than not, leans towards introspection and impressionism, and a saxophonist for whom the word "burning" is rarely seen far from his name, that makes Five on One such a revelation. Each player demonstrates his individual strengths and predilections, but coming together clearly pushes each into unexpected territory, as Copland's skewed romanticism and harmonic ambiguity on his own "Childmoon Smile" leads to a soprano solo from Liebman that combines passionate lyricism and evocative leaps into the instrument's upper register.

Abercrombie's writing dominates the set, with three tunes including the almost-album-titled "Four on One," essentially a free improvisation with a brief head that acts as both context setter and rallying point. Taken to far greater extremes than versions on the guitarist's Night (ECM, 1984) or John Abercrombie/Marc Johnson/Peter Erskine (ECM, 1989), it combines a collective chemistry, engendered from years of working in other contexts, with an equally vital sound of surprise, stemming from this first encounter as a unit. As ever, Abercrombie's biggest strength lies in his ability to possess a distinct and recognizable voice without resorting to stock phrases or musical devices that, over time, begin to ring of repetitiveness and predictability.

A description that can, in fact, apply to everyone in Contact. Whether it's turning to starker melodism on Liebman's "Lost Horizon" (co-written with wife Caris Visentin) or revisiting Gress' slow-cooking "Like It Never Was," from the bassist's outstanding 7 Black Butterflies (Premonition, 2005), this is a marriage of many qualities that could, in other hands, work against each other, but here serendipitously assert a unique and compelling collective voice. With a debut this strong, here's hoping Five on One isn't a one-off affair.


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.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Pirouet Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "The Intergalactic Thing" CD/LP/Track Review The Intergalactic Thing
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 1, 2016
Read "Oscar, with Love" CD/LP/Track Review Oscar, with Love
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 19, 2016
Read "Rejoice! I'm Dead!" CD/LP/Track Review Rejoice! I'm Dead!
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 24, 2016
Read "Back Home" CD/LP/Track Review Back Home
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 15, 2016
Read "The Journey" CD/LP/Track Review The Journey
by James Nadal
Published: January 5, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!