David Liebman - soprano & tenor saxophone
Marc Copland - piano
Recorded March 20, 2002. Switzerland.
Disc 1 ( afternoon, studio )
2. The Searcher
4. Lester Leaps In
5. When You're Smiling
6. In Your Own Sweet Way
8. Bookends II
Disc 2 ( evening, live )
1. Cry Want
2. Maiden Voyage
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
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
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
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.