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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




hatOLOGY 2-587


David Liebman - soprano & tenor saxophone
Marc Copland - piano
Recorded March 20, 2002. Switzerland.


Disc 1 ( afternoon, studio )
1. Bookends
2. The Searcher
3. Blackboard
4. Lester Leaps In
5. When You're Smiling
6. In Your Own Sweet Way
7. Nadir
8. Bookends II
Disc 2 ( evening, live )
1. Cry Want
2. Maiden Voyage
3. Impressions
4. WTC
5. Blue In Green

This is cerebral modern Jazz of a very high quality. I thoroughly enjoyed this release and found it to be one of the most fascinating and challenging discs to come my way in recent months. There is a sense of total commitment throughout and the sense of experimentation is always present, even on the better known selections. There is no feeling of playing safe or digging into an established bag of tricks.

Marc Copland is rapidly making a name for himself as one of the more intellectual and tasteful players on the current scene and this offering can only serve to enhance his burgeoning reputation. Bill Evans and Bobo Stenson are other pianists who spring to mind when listening to this style of playing. Copland obviously has excellent technique but does not allow it to interfere with the expressive nature of his playing.

Dave Liebman is probably a better known musician in a universal sense from his work with people like Miles Davis, Chick Corea and Elvin Jones. In more recent times he has concentrated on the soprano saxophone, but as can be clearly discerned from this disc, he has revived his tenor playing of late and is producing equally valid performances on either instrument. He has great control and bends the pitch most effectively to add different colours to the whole picture.

Although there are solo moments from each player, "Lester Leaps In " for Liebman and "When You're Smiling" for Copland, the real strength here lies in the close and complementary interaction of the two musicians. They are capable of achieving a quite unusual blend on their very different instruments and then later playing against each other to give yet more variety of attack and timbre.

Disc one contains some fine compositions from each player as well as the better known pieces and the rather lesser known but very beautiful "In Your Own Sweet Way" by Dave Brubeck. This last tune is given a very moving reading and is one of the high spots to be found here. Disc two is comprised mainly of Jazz standards - Coltrane's "Impressions" is Liebman's acknowledgement of his musical father and is a most worthy version of this much played and recorded number.

Many artists have experimented with the small group format over the years - Rollin's with his various trios and even a complete solo album, and the late Joe Henderson worked and recorded with several different groupings, often changing the size of the ensemble during the course of many of his later albums. When the music and performance is right there is no sense of anything missing and I can think of no better compliment than to say that that is the case here.

Dick Stafford


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