Dave Liebman's second duo CD with a pianist for Zoho Music is a bit different than his earlier session with Phil Markowitz. Here he is joined by a promising young pianist, Bobby Avey, and they focus exclusively on adapting classical themes into jazz. In his liner notes, Liebman mentions that the two men rehearsed and performed the music over the course of a year before entering the studio. Drawing mostly on music from the 19th century (though there is one selection by Handel), they both worked on finding new approaches to these well-known classical compositions, though Liebman credits Avey with doing most of the arranging. The music has stood the test of time for a reason, as good melodies usually do; Liebman and Avey play lyrically as if this music has been a part of their entire careers, adding just the right amount of improvisation without losing sight of the melodies. Whether it is a piece by Brahms, Chopin, Schubert, or Mahler, this music will be enjoyed by fans of jazz or classical music alike. The intimate performances and personal sound make this an essential recording.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden