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; Trnenregen (from "Die Schone Mullerin")/Wasserflut (from "Winterreise," D 911); Fleur des Bls (1880); Der Einsame im Herbst (from "Das Lied von der Erde").

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

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


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Till They Lay Me Down" CD/LP/Track Review Till They Lay Me Down
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 5, 2016
Read "Happy All the Time" CD/LP/Track Review Happy All the Time
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "As it Was" CD/LP/Track Review As it Was
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 18, 2016
Read "Escape  from The Unhappy Society" CD/LP/Track Review Escape from The Unhappy Society
by Anthony Shaw
Published: February 1, 2017
Read "Instant Oats" CD/LP/Track Review Instant Oats
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 18, 2016
Read "Tournesol" CD/LP/Track Review Tournesol
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!