On his six release as a leader young baritone saxophonist Charles Evans chose to feature a chamber jazz quartet that is inspired by the innovations of contemporary music of the twentieth century. Evans wrote pieces specifically for veteran sax master Dave Liebman, playing only the soprano sax here, and his musical vision is realized with two other masterspianist Ron Stabinsky and drummer Tony Marino, a close associate of Liebman, who charge Evans' vision with imaginative versatility and precision.
The rare combination of baritone and soprano saxophones enabled both Evans and Liebman, who rarely played the soprano sax in recent years to broaden their expressive language and to find a unique and highly personal common ground. Their common language is rooted in the jazz legacy but consciously avoids the traditional jazz vocabulary. It clearly assimilates last century innovative extended techniques, harmonies, and various attitudes to free improvisation. The interplay of the quartet is investigative and supportive and usually melodic. This recording enjoys the great acoustics of the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.
Evans and Liebman explore playfully similar sonorities on "Dreamed-Out March" till the sound of the baritone sax blends with the sound of the soprano sax. "Certain Soprano" offers Liebman an exploration of the 12-tone serialism in an improvised setting, with subtle additions of Evans. On "Mahler Method" the expressive voices of Evans and Liebman unite for a dreamy duet, beautifully anchored with gentle and elegant playing of Stabinsky. Evans and Liebman demonstrate their personal languages, corresponding and articulating on the other sonic gesture in an emphatic conversation that only towards its coda becomes intense.
The title piece is the most challenging. Evans attempts to harness the highly disciplined and rigidly structured 12-tone serialism of composer Arnold Schoenberg with the loose sensibilities of spontaneous, and intuitive improvisation. The outcome is a restless and dissonant piece, full of colliding, schizophrenic articulations, an interplay that alternates between the nervous and dense to the gentle and introvert, still, and captivating with its bold ideas.
Subliminal Leaps feature Evans as a profound and daring composer that keeps challenging himself.
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