134

Steuart Liebig/The Mentones: Locustland

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Steuart Liebig/The Mentones: Locustland From the label's name comes a moniker for Steuart Liebig's creative blues band: The Mentones.

Creative improvised music has many forms. This Mentones session combines the swing of jazz with the spirit of the blues. Each of the foursome participates equally, as harmonica and alto saxophone step up to the front line, and bass and drums provide a strong foundation. Liebig's electric bass leads the quartet over hills and valleys, through exotic designs that fit his piece titles in a rather loose fashion.

The broom has a special significance in blues jargon. So do boxcars, honky tonks, graveyards, drifters, and the Mississippi. As the Mentones take this show on the road, Bill Barrett's chromatic harmonica lends an authentic touch. His solos light campfires all around the world.

Liebig leads "Drifter" with an extended solo that sets the mood. Drummer Joseph Berardi provides a continuous claptrap rhythm to glue the solos together. The leader's pulsating cascades thump their way around the room a few times before focusing on what drives us from within. It's inspirational. Alto saxophonist Tony Atherton follows with an exotic dance that's made for travelers. Locustland appears to be filled with elements from all over the world. Barrett's harp solo follows with energy-laden phrases that dance in and out of folk music. Berardi pushes him to the limit. Finally, the four creative artists settle back on the piece's theme. It's sheer delight.

Not every piece jives, however, as do "Drifter," "Broom" and "Lightning Bug." Several require repeated listening in order to establish an impression. Suite-like in manner, Liebig's compositions sometimes ramble through repeated changes in meter and mood that leave the listener wondering. Scored passages may change direction abruptly, without warning. The Mentones' improvised solos, however, tend to follow a logical direction around the leader's theme.

Liebig"s big bass makes itself known as a melody-maker as well as an accompanist. The leader's melodies and improvised solos soar with a powerful, yet lyrical force. Unison phrases with saxophone and harmonica amplify that concept.


Track Listing: Broom; Graveyard; Mojave Boxcar; Drifter; Honky Tonk Burn; Westpoint, Mississippi; Small Fry; Burnt Umber; Nighthawk; Howl & Tumble; Gasoline Jelly; Lightning Bug; Nowhere Calling.

Personnel: Steuart Liebig- contrabass guitar; Tony Atherton- alto saxophone; Bill Barrett- harmonica; Joseph Berardi- drums, percussion.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: pfMentum | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

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 Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
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 Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Los Guachos V" CD/LP/Track Review Los Guachos V
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 1, 2016
Read "Up Go We" CD/LP/Track Review Up Go We
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "Invisible Hand" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Hand
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Nearly Extinct" CD/LP/Track Review Nearly Extinct
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 17, 2016
Read "Wolf Valley" CD/LP/Track Review Wolf Valley
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 18, 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!