Re-imagining the music of free jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman, saxophonist Dave Liebman and his longstanding group explore Coleman classics from 50 years ago like “The Blessing,” “Lonely Woman,” and “Beauty is a Rare Thing” with an eye toward augmenting and refining the harmony on those lyrical gems. The presence of guitar here, with Vic Juris spinning single-line flurries that double or shadow Liebman’s agile sax, recalls Coleman’s collaboration with Pat Metheny on 1985’s Song X. Indeed, they interpret the lovely ballad “Kathelin Gray” from that groundbreaking album with Juris outlining the harmony on acoustic guitar. Elsewhere, bassist Tony Marino affects a Charlie Haden-styled sparse and deep-toned approach on freebop staples like “Enfant,” “Cross Breeding,” and “Bird Food,” and drummer Marko Marcinko alternately floats and swings while also deftly shifting tempos. Their fresh take on “Turnaround,” rooted in the funky push-and-pull between Marcinko and Marino, retains the familiar bluesy riff while their unique reading of “Lonely Woman,” with Liebman on wooden flute, is a showcase for Juris’ ambient electronic effects. Liebman’s lone composition, “The Sky,” fits right in with Coleman’s chromaticism and controlled abandon.
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