David Liebman and Friends


(Ear Up)


The impetus was Sly and the Family Stone’s In Time from the 1973 album Fresh, crowned by Andy Newmark’s drumming. Miles Davis walked into the rehearsal room, played it to his band over and over, and told them that this was how he now wanted the music to sound. So the transition from electric Miles to funky Miles was made, with On the Corner becoming the phase’s pivotal record. Dave Liebman was Miles’s saxophonist, and he co-leads this project of re-exploring that music with fellow saxophonist Jeff Coffin.

When they both are wailing on soprano (as on the On the Corner theme) there’s a fair chance your hair will stand on end. Of course the success or otherwise of the project was always dependent on the rhythm section, so Coffin and Liebman assembled about wickedest combination imaginable: thrilling, witty bassist Victor Wooten and drummer Chester Thompson, with Chris Walters (keyboards) and James Dasilva (guitar) fleshing out the band. Liebman is in dazzling form, even bringing out his wood flute for the moody Wili, and the band sizzles with an excitement level that, if it could be distilled, would make a viable amphetamine.