267

Dave Liebman & Phil Markowitz: Manhattan Dialogues

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Dave Liebman & Phil Markowitz: Manhattan Dialogues Most musicians are fortunate enough to find one musical partner where such shared simpatico exists that they can evolve in perfect tandem—exploring a variety of contexts with the kind of comfort level that ensures complete trust and an unfettered imagination that makes no pursuit beyond reach. To find more than one is rare indeed. Saxophonist Dave Liebman and pianist Richie Beirach's 20-year-plus relationship, well-documented on last year's Mosaic Select 12 box of archival live recordings, saw them approach everything from the early fusion-meets-world music of Lookout Farm to the open-ended freedom of Quest and more intimate duets.

But when the two parted companies in the early '90s, it became Liebman's good fortune to cement a host of vital new partnerships, including guitarist Vic Juris, percussionist Jamey Haddad, bassist Tony Marino and pianist/keyboardist Phil Markowitz. Liebman's post-Beirach quintet became the core of projects ranging from detailed exploration of the music of John Coltrane—inarguably Liebman's biggest influence—to its own diverse range of original composition.

Markowitz may have left the quintet in the late '90s, but he continues to be pianist of choice for Liebman, heard most recently on last year's Saxophone Summit featuring Joe Lovano and Michael Brecker, and now on Manhattan Dialogues, a series of duets recorded at the Manhattan School of Music, where both teach on a regular basis. With a personal and deeply-shared musical language, this set of eight originals and two radically-reharmonized standards is arguably the most vivid document of Liebman and Markowitz's remarkable chemistry to date.

For the most part pensive and darkly-hued, the common ground that Liebman and Markowitz share may be on the cerebral side, but Liebman's ever-present expressionist tendencies give even the most heady chromaticism of his own "Teacher of Our Child," "Philippe Under the Green Bridge" and "Jung" a visceral edge. And while neither Liebman's or Markowitz's material swings in any kind of traditional way, leaning more towards a kind of abstract rhythmic pulse, there is an inherently insistent groove on Markowitz's more up-tempo "Off By One" and "Sno' Peas"—the latter a tune that was first recorded by Bill Evans and harmonica legend Toots Thielemans, although in a far more conventional context than this significantly outré reading.

Throughout, Liebman and Markowitz are so in each others' pockets as to consistently blur the line between form and freedom. In fact, by the time the duo reaches the standards—"The Night Has 1000 Eyes" and "'Round Midnight"—at the end of the program, the overall complexion has been so well-established as to largely obfuscate the more recognizable characteristics of these well-known tunes.

And yet, while many of the set's compositions are born from intellectual premises with challenging foundations, the 70-minute program remains completely compelling. More provocative than evocative, Manhattan Dialogues demonstrates the power and subtlety of improvisation in the hands of two artists who combine common musical goals with an uncommon ability to find the most direct—if not necessarily the easiest—paths to get to them.

Visit Dave Liebman and Phil Markowitz on the web.


Track Listing: Teacher of Our Child; "7" Intro; "7"; Philippe Under the Green Bridge; Sno' Peas; Jung; Off By One; Mahoning; The Night Has 1000 Eyes; 'Round Midnight.

Personnel: Dave Liebman: soprano and tenor saxophones; Phil Markowitz: piano.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Zoho Music | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 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 "Wisdom Of Elders" CD/LP/Track Review Wisdom Of Elders
by James Nadal
Published: October 8, 2016
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Never Group" CD/LP/Track Review Never Group
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 21, 2016
Read "Home" CD/LP/Track Review Home
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 10, 2016
Read "Cool" CD/LP/Track Review Cool
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "Live InTokyo" CD/LP/Track Review Live InTokyo
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 12, 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!