2

Dave Liebman/Michael Stephens: Lineage: Rock and Pop Classics Revisited

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Dave Liebman/Michael Stephens: Lineage: Rock and Pop Classics Revisited Saxophonist Dave Liebman was yet another musician drawn into the orbit of trumpeter Miles Davis, contributing to the always innovative master band leader's extraordinary and ground breaking—but underappreciated and even maligned at its time of release—On the Corner (Columbia Records, 1972), as well as Dark Magus (Columbia Records, 1974) and Get Up With It (Columbia Records, 1974). Then, like so many others—saxophonists Wayne Shorter and John Coltrane, pianist Herbie Hancock, drummers' Tony Williams and Elvin Jones, to name just a handful—Liebman, a changed man for the Davis experience, left that orbit on his own trajectory, to become one of our premier inside/outside jazzers with scores of releases under his own name, including outstanding (but distinctively his own) homages to Davis and alto saxophonist/free jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman.

So Lineage, a teaming with drummer Michael Stephens, a Liebman contemporary, and three young up-and-coming players, delving into rock and pop tunes of the late fifties and early sixties may come as a surprise.

Dave Liebman was born in 1946. That means he would have encountered the 1963 surf/rock hit, "Wipe Out," by the Surfaris, when he was 17 years old. The saxophone/rock rave up, "Tequila" came out in 1958. Liebman would have been about 12 years old, an age where many young people discover music. Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender" came out in '56. You get the idea.

Liebman and Stephen's idea for this Lineage was a re-visitation of the popular songs they had been drawn to in their younger days, and deconstructing then re-harmonizing, and generally reshaping them under the umbrella of the ideas that Liebman has been employing in jazz for the past forty years.

In case you're wondering—and because it sounds as if it wouldn't—it works, amazingly well.

"Mr. Sandman," a sweet and goofy tune, recorded and released by the Chordettes in 1954, seems the least likely of vehicles for a jazz treatment. Stephens's shuffling drums accompany Liebman's soprano sax, playing the melody straight, until pianist Bobby Avey stretches out, taking the mood from gentle whimsey to serious improvisation. The Beatles get two nods: "Eleanor Rigby" and "Here, There and Everywhere." The former, with Liebman on wooden flute, opens with an Eastern atmosphere. Switching to soprano sax, Liebman keeps the melody recognizable until guitarst Vic Juris—a veteran of Liebmans's jazz quartet—steps out with an elastic acoustic solo. On "Here, There and Everywhere," one of the loveliest tunes in the Lennon/McCartney songbook, Liebman switches to tenor sax, introducing the tune on a tender note before he surges into wild and wooly territory, with distinctively Liebman-esque growls and roars over a backdrop of Avey's cool organ flow.

And there's "Woodstock, singer/songwriterJoni Mitchell's late sixties anthem that Liebman and the band lead into dark and foreboding territory.

Lineage, taking familiar pop tunes and turning them inside out, with reverence, is an excellent addition to the extensive Dave Liebman discography.


Track Listing: Mr. Sandman; Eleanor Rigby; Visions; Tequila; I Only Have Eyes for You; Walk, Don't Run; Woodstock; Wipe Out; Here, There and Everywhere; Love Me Tender.

Personnel: Dave Liebman: soprano and tenor saxophones, wooden flute; Evan Gregor: electric and acoustic bass; Vic Juris: electric and acoustic guitars; Bobby Avey: acoustic and electric piano, organ; Michael Stephens: drums, percussion; Matt Vashlisan: alto and soprano saxophones, flute, EWI, clarinet.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Whaling City Sound | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "In For The Out" CD/LP/Track Review In For The Out
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 12, 2016
Read "We Live Here" CD/LP/Track Review We Live Here
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2017
Read "Burning Ghosts" CD/LP/Track Review Burning Ghosts
by Troy Collins
Published: July 21, 2016
Read "Potsdamer Platz" CD/LP/Track Review Potsdamer Platz
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: February 3, 2017
Read "Steam In The Casa" CD/LP/Track Review Steam In The Casa
by Nicola Negri
Published: August 15, 2016

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!