David Liebman's long list of accomplishments includes working in many different-sized groups in a variety of styles. For this big-band project the soprano saxophonist leads a big band in concert playing his compositions, though with arrangements by others and the band conducted by Gunnar Mossblad (who also plays several reed instruments). "Brite Piece" was first recorded by Liebman early in his career when he was a sideman with Elvin Jones. Although its composer dismisses it as "just a simple ditty with a vamp in the bridge," Andrew Rathbun's arrangement for big band provides Liebman with colorful backgrounds for his improvised flights. Trumpeter and alto flügelhornist Scott Reeves, who took part in the concerts, scored two songs. "Annubis" is an exotic, mysterious piece with the leader playing wooden flute in the introduction, with a solo by oboist Charles Pillow (with a delicious vamp behind him by bass clarinetist Chris Karlic), an understated Middle Eastern-flavored Vic Juris guitar solo, and an ominous synthesizer interlude by Jim Ridl, followed by spots featuring Liebman's piercing soprano sax and Reeves' spacious alto flügelhorn. The second Reeves chart is another early Liebman work, in which the arranger scored Liebman's original solo from his record with Elvin Jones for the sax section. The explosive finale, "Turn It Around," showcases drummer Marko Marcinko and Juris, in addition to the leader. Liebman hasn't been heard in a big-band setting often enough during his career; perhaps the success of Live: As Always will open doors for future recordings.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden