David Liebman

The Energy of the Chance

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Flitting from flower to flower in the 1980s, Liebman returns to what can euphemistically be called "contemporary" sounds in this synthesizer-laced collaboration with trumpeter Dave Love at the latter's Heads Up studio in Texas. Although some of the backings veer close to New Age landscaping -- one selection is even entitled "New Age" -- Liebman's playing isn't compromised by his backdrops, which wasn't the case with the earlier Lightin' Up Please. At his best, Dave soars with that lost, lonely, lyrical soprano sax of his (Royce Chambers provides the occasional erratic tenor solo), but also stretches himself easily, even raucously, into the outside regions. He also plays Roland S-50 and MemoryMoog on former employer Miles Davis' "Wili"; on this track the group sounds a lot like one of Miles' '80s bands in a pensive mood -- and he contributes a spoken intro to "Child Refugee." Dave's wife Caris carefully interweaves her oboe with Dave's soprano on "Valencia" and "Begging for Words" finds Sara Pevsner offering one of those ethereal vocals that would have been at home on a Return to Forever Mk.III album. Intriguing stuff, but ultimately not compelling.

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