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David Liebman/Robert Tarenzi/Paolo Benedittini/Tony Arco: Dream of Nite

Saxophonist David Liebman’s ongoing collaboration with an Italian rhythm section has turned into a strong band capable of cerebral-in the good way-performances. If some of the music on this live disc evokes Wayne Shorter’s recent Verve releases, it’s no coincidence. “Tomorrow’s Expectations,” which Liebman recorded 10 years ago with Pete LaRoca, is a thoughtful ballad inspired by his predecessor’s 1960s writing, with some probing soprano sax to match. The title track also takes hints from Shorter’s “Night Dreamer,” with all four players getting aggressive with a descending riff that frames the piece. Pianist Tarenzi and drummer Arco also contribute material to the album. “Unsteady” lives up to its name, with a taut 7/8 modal riff that tests the rhythm section and inspires Liebman to cut loose. The 15-minute “Feel” unfolds slowly with Benedittini’s bass conversing with Liebman on recorder, before everyone gets a chance to stretch out. Benedittini also makes a good showing in “En Noir,” a “time, no changes” type of piece in which a walking bass line works as something of a jump-off point for the saxophonist. The tempo and dynamics of Dream of Nite often get a bit subdued, but the group’s sense of adventure stays at a high level regardless.

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