Saxophonist/flautist and 2011 NEA Jazz Master David Liebman knows of what he speaks when he speaks of Miles Davis. He was part of the pack stirring the rock/jazz/electronic/funk fusion cauldron, first working with Elvin Jones and then running with Davis in the studiofirst appearing on the original On The Corner, (Columbia, 1972)and on tour from 1972 to 1974.
And though the electric chapter of Miles Davis and Liebman serves as the historical pivot point, for On The Corner Live: The Music of Miles Davis, the impetus behind both this gig and the recording is the Grammy-winning sax-man Jeff Coffin. Back in 2015, while Liebman was visiting Coffin's home base in Nashville, Coffin, a long standing member of Bela Fleck & The Flecktones and resident saxophonist for Dave Matthews, got the idea to explore Miles music. He then assembled fellow Flecktone bassist Victor Wooten, drummer Chester Thompson (an early Frank Zappa, Weather Report, and Genesis alumnus), pianist Chris Walters and guitarist James DaSilva.
Perhaps not as dense as any of the material featured on the original or its electric predecessors and successors, the ensemble does find crackling re- invention and vigor, bringing new life to what has to be the umpteenth reincarnation of the music. Joe Zawinul's defining "In A Silent Way" is taken a tad too solemnly, but it does get the band psyched for the jams to come. "On the Corner" gets funky fast, as Walters flashes some Chick Corea / Keith Jarrett deja vu and the reed men trade off Wooten's bubbling antics. The crowd loves it! "Wili (for Dave)" is one of those airy, floating fusion moments that erupts into a jagged guitar-fueled finale. "Black Satin" blisters with more sky-diving horn work, driven by Chester and Wooten. Like the audience and the players, no one walks away from On The Corner Live: The Music of Miles Davis dissatisfied.
Lieb Talks About Miles; In a Silent Way; On the Corner; Wili (for Dave); Bass Interlude; Black
Satin; Selim; Guitar Interlude; Ife; Drum Interlude; Mojo; Jean Pierre.
Dave Liebman: tenor and soprano saxophone, wood flute; Jeff Coffin: tenor, soprano, and electro
saxophone, flute, clarinet; Victor Wooten: electric bass; Chester Thompson: drums; Chris Walters:
keyboards; James DaSilva: guitar.