376

Dave Liebman Group: In a Mellow Tone

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Dave Liebman Group: In a Mellow Tone Don't let the title of Dave Liebman's latest disc, In a Mellow Tone, fool you. While the ambience is generally more relaxed than his usual fare, this is no easy-going collection of standards; instead what we have is an album that, for all its mellifluous aspirations, has a subtle intensity, and a certain feeling that all is not what it seems.

Leading off with a radically reharmonized version of the Ellington classic, "In a Mellow Tone," Liebman sets the tone for the whole album. While the recognizable theme is there, the underlying feel is one of brooding darkness. With bassist Tony Marino and drummer Jamey Haddad eschewing the more expected ambling lope, instead lightly implying a certain sense of peril, Liebman's arrangement may be accessible, but it is hardly easy listening. Liebman's playing is less aggressive than usual, but his expressionist leanings remain intact.

Guitarist Vic Juris continues to surprise and enlighten. With a style that sits, for the most part, somewhere between the melodious sound of Pat Metheny and the more oblique lyricism of John Abercrombie, he demonstrates a musical breadth of which few guitarists are capable. From the impressionistic self-penned "Chance of Rain," which is so visual one can see the clouds rolling in and hear the distant thunder, to Liebman's "The Sun King," originally written in the '70s when he was playing with Indian percussionist Badal Roy, Juris demonstrates a knowledge of everything from post bop harmonies to Indian raga form.

Liebman even manages to take the soporific melodrama of James Horner's "My Heart Will Go On," from the Titanic movie soundtrack, and turn it into a rubato tone poem that is poignant and pensive. "Change Up" is a free piece that features rich interplay between Liebman's soprano saxophone and Marino's bowed bass, before leading into a classical guitar solo by Juris that continues to demonstrate his broad stylistic abilities.

Sadly this is the final recording of the current version of Liebman's group that began in '91, following the dissolution of his more outgoing post-Coltrane band, Quest. Liebman states in the liner notes that a long-standing band "both artistically and from the listener's standpoint is consistently at a higher level than in temporary formations." With the effortless way in which the quartet navigates the material on In a Mellow Tone, Liebman's assumption is clearly supported. What will come next is anybody's guess, but In a Mellow Tone is a fitting swan song for a group; easy on the ears without losing its sense of adventure, and the culmination of a lot of obviously joyful hours spent playing together.

Visit Dave Liebman and ZOHO Music on the web.

Track Listing: In a Mellow Tone; Child At Play; Chance of Rain; The Sun King; Chant; My Heart Will Go On; Romulan Ale; Wow; Change Up; Vamp to Life

Personnel: Dave Liebman (soprano and tenor saxophones, wooden flute), Vic Juris (acoustic and electric guitar, guitar synthesizer), Tony Marino (acoustic and stik bass), Jamey Haddad (drums, percussion)

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Zoho Music | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

  • The Sky
    The Sky
    Dave Liebman
    Turnaround: The Music of...
  • A Bright Place
    A Bright Place
    Dave Liebman Big Band
    Live/As Always
  • WTC
    WTC
    Dave Liebman / Richie Beirach / Frankfurt Radio Bigband
    Quest for Freedom
  • Lost Horizon
    Lost Horizon
    Dave Liebman / Contact
    Five on One
  • Standoff
    Standoff
    Dave Liebman / Quest
    Re-Dial
CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Raconteurs
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Holiday On Fire CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Calvins Toboggan CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Silent Light CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read PausaLive CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Varanda" CD/LP/Track Review Varanda
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Boss Tenor" CD/LP/Track Review Boss Tenor
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: July 20, 2016
Read "Pascal Battus / Dafne Vicente-Sandoval</em>" CD/LP/Track Review Pascal Battus / Dafne Vicente-Sandoval</em>
by John Eyles
Published: June 17, 2016
Read "Black Ice" CD/LP/Track Review Black Ice
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "Akustik InventYours" CD/LP/Track Review Akustik InventYours
by Tyran Grillo
Published: May 3, 2016
Read "Recent Developments" CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 26, 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!