March 1997

David Liebman
Voyage
Evidence Music

This album is full of odd time signatures, ethnic-sounding themes and colors, moods reminiscent of Miles Davis, and blends of acoustic and electronic instruments. Liebman's soprano saxophone (he also plays wooden flute occasionally) is the centerpiece of a quintet that includes Vic Juris (guitar), Phil Markowitz (piano, keyboards), Tony Marino (bass) and Jamey Haddad (drums, percussion, voice). Guest percussionist Cafe appears on three cuts.Liebman's soprano style covers the waterfront, from gentle, willowy lyricism (his melody statement on his own "When To Love") to dancing exoticism (Markowitz's "Cut") to motif-based mid-Eastern scales and incantation (Markowitz's "Yildiz"). There are no noticeable clichés in his playing, and he gives the impression of boundless melodic creativity in each solo. My only reservation is that I'm not partial to the sometimes dense, murky electronic instrumental combinations, which seem an extension of his tenure with one of Miles' early fusion groups in 1973 and '74.

Originally published in March 1997
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