Five on One

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Contact consists of five veterans: David Liebman, John Abercrombie, Marc Copland, Drew Gress, and Billy Hart. All of them have recorded as leaders, though the subdued feeling of this quintet makes it feel like it is an informal gathering of old friends, which is the case, as they have crossed paths in various combinations during their long careers. Abercrombie contributed several originals: the breezy post-bop vehicle "Send Up" showcasing the guitarist and Liebman's soprano sax, and the feverish "Four on One" that suggests someone running very late while being unable to keep his mind on the various things to be done. Liebman contributed the mysterious ballad "Lost Horizon," which puts the spotlight on Copland's gorgeous piano solo. Gress penned the jaunty "My Refrain" and the haunting, constantly evolving ballad "Like It Never Was." Copland's delicate "Childmoon Smile" is yet another outstanding ballad, featuring its composer with lush harmonies added in spots by Liebman and Abercrombie. It is not until the end of the CD that Contact ventures into a standard, but their approach to "You and the Night and the Music" is a bit more ominous than typical interpretations, with Liebman's subdued yet active tenor and Abercrombie's energetic solo leading the way. The musicianship throughout these sessions is never less than superb, so hopefully Contact won't be a one-shot meeting.

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