205

Dave Liebman & Bobby Avey: Vienna Dialogues

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Dave Liebman & Bobby Avey: Vienna Dialogues An album based around music by Mendelssohn, Mahler and other classical composers might sound a little too polite for expressionist saxophonist Dave Liebman. But Vienna Dialogues, a followup to the more in-character Manhattan Dialogues (Zoho, 2005), demonstrates what anyone who has followed his career already knows. Liebman has always been a player who can immerse himself in any setting, capture its essence and still sound completely himself. Vienna Dialogues simply challenges Liebman, in duet with young pianist Bobby Avey, to approach interpretation and improvisation in a different way.

Some view classical music as inherently restrictive. One typically doesn't get the opportunity to play "off the page, making asserting one's voice a more difficult proposition. Instead of being liberal with the notes, it's all about nuance and inflection. Here, however, Liebman and Avey have crafted arrangements of music—largely from the Romantic period of the 19th Century—that are reverential, yet allow a greater degree of exploration.

Schumann's "Romance Op. 94 No. 2 begins on a majestic note, and Liebman shares its sublime theme with Avey. Liebman, who plays soprano throughout, approaches the material faithfully; but towards the end of this lied (art song), the duo becomes just a little bolder, and Liebman's strong voice becomes self-evident. Chopin's "Etude in E Flat Minor Op. 62 No. 1 is darker, and Liebman takes even greater liberties.

What makes the album work is the absence of a "jazz meets classical shtick. The musicians' honesty avoids cuteness or coyness, despite the fact that this is a clear fusion of aesthetics. The Schubert medley "Tränenregen/Wasserflut begins gently enough, Avey's classicism feeling very much the way Ralph Towner might approach the material. When Liebman enters, the drama gradually increases, his solo becoming bolder and more Coltrane-like. His tone becomes harsher, seeming to cry out over Avey's modal block chord accompaniment.

One can hear the influence of Debussy's "Fleur des Blés on contemporaries like Erik Satie, who was only fourteen at the time this song was composed in 1880. Liebman and Avey capture the song's elegant simplicity as well as its greater depth and more modernistic harmonic conception.

The album's sequencing traces the evolution that took place during the Romantic period by placing material by latter-day composers Debussy and Mahler at the end of the program. It also allows Liebman and Avey's approach to unfold gradually, itself moving towards more open-ended investigation.

Vienna Dialogues is a strong introduction to Avey, as well as a disc that fleshes out Liebman's substantial body of work in an unexpected but thoroughly enjoyable fashion.

Track Listing: Romance Op. 94 No. 2; Etude in E Flat Minor Op. 10 No. 6; May Breezes Op. 62 No. 1 (from "Song without Words"); Immer Leiser Wird Mein Schlummer Op. 105 No. 2; Sonata #6; Tr

Personnel: Dave Liebman: soprano saxophone; Bobby Avey: piano.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Zoho Music | Style: Classical


Shop

More Articles

Read Ha Noi Duo CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Like, Strange CD/LP/Track Review Like, Strange
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Coalesce CD/LP/Track Review Coalesce
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Il sistema periodico CD/LP/Track Review Il sistema periodico
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Code Noir CD/LP/Track Review Code Noir
by James Nadal
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Welcome to Swingsville! CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "Split Kick - Live In Sweden 1972" CD/LP/Track Review Split Kick - Live In Sweden 1972
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 14, 2016
Read "Acceptance" CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Musings" CD/LP/Track Review Musings
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 22, 2016
Read "Shirley Horn Live at the 4 Queens" CD/LP/Track Review Shirley Horn Live at the 4 Queens
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 5, 2016
Read "Chronosome" CD/LP/Track Review Chronosome
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Kodama Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Kodama Trio
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 31, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

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!