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The Dave Liebman Group: Turnaround

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Newly minted NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman has been releasing a lot of albums lately. Now here’s another one too good to let pass without mention, on which Liebman and his longstanding quartet successfully take on the music of Ornette Coleman.

Liebman’s album notes confess that Coleman’s influence on him was less pronounced than it was on others of his generation, mostly due to Liebman’s strong interest in harmony. (“For the most part,” he writes, “Ornette’s brand of ‘free-bop’ doesn’t really place much importance on harmony per se.”) Yet it’s hard to imagine Coleman’s music getting a more sympathetic or effective reconsideration. The blues-based title cut is the most easily recognizable of the 10 Coleman compositions to turn up here. The least recognizable is another Ornette standard, “Lonely Woman,” which Liebman performs on a wood flute with ethereal support from his bandmates, the combination suggesting a searching cry from a precipice into outer space.

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