David Liebman

If They Only Knew

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Originally put out by Timeless, only to be issued in the U.S. on Impulse! eight years after the session, the phrase "if they only knew" at one time was conceived as a riposte to Liebman's critics. But you won't hear any querulous complaints from this corner, for this is a thoughtful, often burning quintet session carooming off the bumpers of post-bop, jazz-rock, and the avant-garde. Liebman is mostly heard on brittle, sometimes volatile tenor throughout the record, even turning in some fancy bop licks on "Autumn in New York." The relaxed, darting electric touch comes from John Scofield, whose asymmetrical guitar you can spot a country mile away, and he contributes the most attractive tune on the session, "Capistrano." Trumpeter Terumasa Hino mixes it up pretty well on many of the tracks in his Freddie Hubbard-derived manner; Ron McClure makes his presence known up front at all times on acoustic bass; Adam Nussbaum is just fine on drums, and the whole thing comes to a furious finish that leaves you wanting more.

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