545

The Dave Liebman Group: Turnaround: The Music of Ornette Coleman

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
When listening to Ornette Coleman's music from the fertile period of his 1959-1961 Atlantic albums—beautifully documented on the aptly titled Beauty is a Rare Thing (Rhino, 1993) box set—it's perhaps a little difficult to understand what all the hubbub was about. As is so often the case, time turns naysayers into champions, and many of the people who were so vehemently opposed to Coleman's forays into the realm of free jazz are now amongst those celebrating him for the innovator he's always been. Coleman's writing from that time, his linear, largely non-chordal approach no longer feels difficult to digest. Time, in fact, has proven many of Coleman's compositions to be memorable for their compelling melodies, a fact not lost on saxophonist Dave Liebman and his group on Turnaround: The Music of Ornette Coleman.



That Liebman has chosen material largely from that two-year watershed is no surprise. Coleman wrote so many memorable themes at that time, especially the particularly haunting melody of "Lonely Woman"—played atmospherically here, with guitarist Vic Juris creating a wash of sound built from copious delay, reverb and other effects, while bassist Tony Marino's arco flesh out the pedal tone that supports Liebman's delicate wooden flute. With drummer Marko Marcinko gradually shifting from percussion to more turbulent kit work, the song ebbs and flows over the course of nearly seven minutes; remarkable, also, for its overall feel of "nobody soloing and everybody soloing" and some rich changes that Liebman's arrangement injects, in spots, to create an unfolding sense of tension and release.



It's the use of sophisticated harmony, in fact, that differentiates Liebman from Coleman—and, admittedly by Liebman, the reason why the free jazz icon had relatively little effect on his career. Liebman—splitting most of his time between soprano and tenor saxophones—respects the linearity of quirky tunes like "Cross Breeding" with Juris largely doubling the saxophonist's melody before everyone enters into a freer trajectory. But he also finds ways to apply his own passion for harmony. The one track not from the Atlantic years—"Kathelin Gray" (first heard on Pat Metheny's collaboration with Coleman, the career-defining Song X, reissued in expanded form by Nonesuch in 2005)—not only sports a new set of changes, but an acoustic guitar intro from Juris that, yet again, begs the question why he's not better known outside of musician circles.



If Juris and Liebman are the shining personalities in this group that they've always been, it's Marino who turns in, quite possibly, the performance of a lifetime. Always a firm yet pliant anchor alongside the equally flexible Marcinko, the bassist's opening salvo on the medley of the tribal "Face of the Bass" and unsurprisingly lyrical "Beauty is a Rare Thing" is a standout, as is the more driving "Una Muy Bonita," where Juris' strummed acoustic provides a distinctly un-Ornette backdrop for the bassist's lithe melodism.



It's one thing to pay tribute; another to turn the source material into one's own. Liebman and his group do just that on Turnaround, demonstrating that inspiration needn't mean imitation.


Track Listing: Enfant; Turnaround; Kathelin Gray; Bird Food; Lonely Woman; Cross Breeding; Face of the Bass/Beauty is a Rare Thing; Una Muy Bonita; The Blessing; The Sky.

Personnel: Dave Liebman: tenor and soprano saxophones, wooden flute; Vic Juris: electric and acoustic guitars; Tony Marino: acoustic bass; Marko Marcinko: drums, percussion.

Title: Turnaround: The Music of Ornette Coleman | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Jazzwerkstatt Berlin-brandenburg E.v.


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read The Chase CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Paint CD/LP/Track Review Paint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 16, 2017
Read A Pouting Grimace CD/LP/Track Review A Pouting Grimace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 15, 2017
Read Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis CD/LP/Track Review Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "Don't Blink" CD/LP/Track Review Don't Blink
by David A. Orthmann
Published: October 5, 2017
Read "In The Shadow Of A Cloud" CD/LP/Track Review In The Shadow Of A Cloud
by John Kelman
Published: August 14, 2017
Read "A Little Bit Of This And A Little Bit Of That" CD/LP/Track Review A Little Bit Of This And A Little Bit Of That
by James Nadal
Published: April 15, 2017
Read "Carol Morgan Quartet - Post Cool Vol. 1 The Night Shift" CD/LP/Track Review Carol Morgan Quartet - Post Cool Vol. 1 The Night Shift
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 14, 2017
Read "Some Great Songs Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Some Great Songs Vol. 2
by Budd Kopman
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "Discussions" CD/LP/Track Review Discussions
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.