David Liebman

Sweet Hands

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The influence of India upon jazz had not been spent entirely when Dave Liebman and Lookout Farm recorded the first of his Horizon albums, which pursues the East-meets-West direction of his former employer Miles Davis, but without the latter's dramatic thrust. The sweet hands refer to those of tabla player Badal Roy (a fellow Miles alumnus), whose precise Indian rhythmic structures underpin and control the bumpy fusion of Indian music and jazz-funk on "Sweet Hand Roy." Elsewhere, Roy's "Ashirbad" merges into George Harrison's "Within You, Without You," a lovely idea until the track begins to drift. Ever the eclectic, though, Liebman does achieve ignition on "Dr. Faustus," which whips up a jazz-rock-funk frenzy with Richie Beirach's propulsive electric piano and kibitzing clavinet, John Abercrombie's rock guitar, and Liebman's masterful, occasionally Echoplexed saxes. There is also some free jazz grooving on "Napanoch." Fascinating music, if not always convincing.

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