Home » Jazz Articles » Dave Liebman - Tatsuya Nakatani - Adam Rudolph: The Unknowable

Album Review

Dave Liebman - Tatsuya Nakatani - Adam Rudolph: The Unknowable


Sign in to view read count
Dave Liebman - Tatsuya Nakatani - Adam Rudolph: The Unknowable
Sax great David Liebman, multitalented percussionist, bandleader Adam Rudolph and prominent Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani project an otherworldly, Uber world jazz tome on this recording of spontaneous compositions, where song titles were appended by Rudolph as he listened to the track mix. Thanks to the crystalline audio characteristics, the production offers a very detailed soundstage.

The percussionists employ an arsenal of Eastern and Western instruments, aside from Rudolph's live electronic processing maneuvers as the music encompasses an electro-organic platform with sacred passages and other movements where caricatures of the Amazon jungle crossed my mind. Moreover, the trio delves into two—and three-way exchanges which is a component that elevates the interest level, as they pepper and mimic each other via fast-paced conversations and unorthodox rhythmic explosions.

Liebman's screeching soprano sax lines aggressively contrast the background EFX and Rudolph's nimble percussion motif on "The Unknowable." Other movements are offset by Nakatani's shrilling metal percussion sounds that often cut into these improvisations with silvery tonalities as other bizarre episodes develop with creaky sound-sculpting passages and renegade storylines. But Liebman launches a fierce bop tirade atop rolling and pummeling cadences on "Present Time."

"Premonition" features Liebman's free-form tenor sax phrasings, complete with plaintive cries, heightened by Nakatani's buoyant drumming and Rudolph's brash accents. Here, the band gels to an ultra-progressive tribal ritual. Nonetheless, the program whizzes by, partly due to the musicians' highly energized activity levels. It's an album that transcends many or perhaps most world jazz type endeavors as the trio pushes the envelope, yielding an atypical sequence of stirring musical events from start to finish.

Track Listing

Benediction (Opening); The Simple Truth; Late Moon; The Unknowable; Skyway Dream; Transmutations; The Turning; Present Time; Distant Twilight; Iconographic; Cosmogram; Premonition; Benediction (Closing).


Dave Liebman: tenor and soprano saxophones, C flute, Native American flute, recorder, piri, Fender Rhodes (10); Tatsuya Nakatani: drum kit, gongs, metal percussion, percussion; Adam Rudolph: handrumset (kongos, djembe, tarija, zabumba), thumb piano, sinter, mbuti harp, slit drum, percussion, overtone flutes, Fender Rhodes (11), live electronic processing.

Album information

Title: The Unknowable | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: RareNoiseRecords

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album



In a Funk
The Justin Haynes Jazz Collective
Live In Lisbon
Ben Monder / Tony Malaby / Tom Rainey
Reminiscing at Rudy's
Houston Person


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.