365

Dave Liebman / Michael Stephans: Nomads

Chris Kompanek By

Sign in to view read count
Dave Liebman / Michael Stephans: Nomads Veteran saxophonist Dave Liebman is no stranger to experimentation, cutting his teeth playing with Elvin Jones and then Miles Davis' groundbreaking fusion group in the '70s. Drummer/poet Michael Stephans has played with everyone from Pharoah Sanders and John Patitucci to classic rock legends David Bowie and The Rolling Stones. On Nomads, the duo takes on many genres and multiple instruments; the result an ambitiously eclectic album, wandering the musical gambit from originals to reharmonized standards and forgotten pieces by jazz greats.

The CD opens with a lone flute followed by the primitive beating of hand drums, evoking the untouched, desolate landscape of the black and white photos that fill the liner notes. Quickly, the duo change feels with a joyous rendition of Keith Jarrett's "The Windup," featuring an extended drum solo and Liebman playing the perky melody on soprano sax.

One of the most satisfying discoveries of Nomads is Liebman's impressive ability as a pianist. He plays the rarely heard Duke Ellington piece "Dusk" with a light, confident touch that cuts to the beautiful melancholy lurking below the surface. His solo reharmonization of the Burke-Van Heusen classic "Imagination" provides an amuse bouche of sorts for the main course that is "Shape Shifters," a 14-minute opus that has Liebman moving from slow and moody soprano sax phrases to finely constructed piano reminiscent of Bill Evans to a ferocious tenor finale.

Stephans excels not only at holding down the beat and supplying many flourishes, but also at playing a mean alto trombone on the fast-paced "Connect the Dots," throwing in a quick melodic reference to "Luck Be a Lady" while Liebman keeps the beat on the drums. Stephans' wordsmith prowess comes to the foreground in "Mingus Ah Um," a jazz-hop interpretation of a poem he wrote for the great bassist.

Nomads is definitely not for the traditional listener. It's full of twists through seemingly disparate genres, subverting popular thought of what a contemporary jazz album should be. While the transitions between songs are often jarring, the whole is immensely satisfying and electrifying.

Track Listing: Nomads; The Windup; Dusk; Get Happy; Sparrows; Mingus Ah Um; Orange Moon; Tie Those Laces; Down and Gone; Connect the Dots; Honeysuckle Rose; Imagination; Shape Shifters; Ephemeral.

Personnel: Dave Liebman: wood flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, piano, drums, spoken word; Michael Stephans: percussion, pocket cornet, piano, drums, alto trombone.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: ITMP | Style: Fringes of 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 Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "A Secret Sigh" CD/LP/Track Review A Secret Sigh
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "Jambú" CD/LP/Track Review Jambú
by Joe Gatto
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "Trickster" CD/LP/Track Review Trickster
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Lost at Last" CD/LP/Track Review Lost at Last
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "Protean Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Protean Reality
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Rub Out The Word" CD/LP/Track Review Rub Out The Word
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 21, 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!