barabara sounds sez:
Saxman Dave Liebman needs no introduction; and if you know European jazz of the last couple of decades (which I don't really) nor do French bassist Jean-Paul Celea or Austrian percussionist Wolfgang Reisinger. This date is from 2001 and was issued on NIght Wing. There's some really fine work on it, especially the Albert Ayler-penned title track.
I don't speak/read much French but you get the idea that they liked this in France. Jazz.com was less impressed. You pays yer money (or not as the case may be) and makes yer own mind up. That's what this blog is all about.
"Pas de discours, mais précision du geste, de l'intention, de l'extra-lucidité, immense présence à l'autre et à l'instant. Libre et contemporaine, la musique du trio est le fruit de cette intensité du geste et de l'attention. C'est ainsi qu'elle nous ravit, body and soul".
This album has the trio of Celea, Liebman, and Reisinger interpreting several songs written or made famous by such great saxophonists as Albert Ayler, Wayne Shorter, Ornette Coleman, and, in this case, John Coltrane. It takes guts (or gall) for Liebman—a saxophonist who's been so profoundly influenced by Trane—to record the master's "greatest hit." More than almost any other jazz musician, Coltrane made certain tunes his own: My Favorite Things especially...
Liebman subverts expectations by playing the tune on tenor instead of soprano, whilst the rhythm section renders a heavy, odd-time vamp that in terms of feel (if not composition) more resembles Coltrane's Spiritual (from Live at the Village Vanguard) than his original version. Liebman is his usual technically astounding self, and he plays with characteristic passion and eloquence. Drummer Reisinger channels Elvin Jones fairly remarkably, and bassist Celea is a sturdy groove-maker. The music is well-played and inspired in its way. As much as this writer esteems Liebman, however, the group's very decision to approach such iconic material seems contrived and perhaps ego-driven. That perception gets in the way of the music—for this listener, anyway.