thu 03/12/2020

CD: VEIN feat Dave Liebman - Jazz Talks | reviews, news & interviews

CD: VEIN feat. Dave Liebman - Jazz Talks

CD: VEIN feat. Dave Liebman - Jazz Talks

Accomplished Swiss-American collaboration excels, looking both forwards and back

Craving the horn: VEIN featuring Dave Liebman

The Vein Trio craves the horn. Though a complete and expressive unit in itself, with Swiss brothers Florian and Michael Arbenz on drums and piano respectively, and Thomas Lähns on bass, they’ve been working with a new saxophonist each season. Last year there was a tour with Greg Osby; now they’ve secured the accompaniment of one of the finest, and most humane-sounding of the post-Coltrane saxophonists, the American Dave Liebman.

The Vein Trio craves the horn. Though a complete and expressive unit in itself, with Swiss brothers Florian and Michael Arbenz on drums and piano respectively, and Thomas Lähns on bass, they’ve been working with a new saxophonist each season. Last year there was a tour with Greg Osby; now they’ve secured the accompaniment of one of the finest, and most humane-sounding of the post-Coltrane saxophonists, the American Dave Liebman. Turning 70 next year, Liebman grew up with the stars of bebop (and played with Miles Davis for a few years), but was also a founder member of one of the most innovative new bands of the period, Lookout Farm.

This highly accomplished release looks both forwards and back. It manages to change directions without getting a crick in the neck, playing a couple of standards with ticklishly, deliriously probing solos from Liebman’s feather-soft soprano sax, but also sending Liebman off into the fringes of free improvisation on tracks like the three improvised “Small Talk” pieces, and “Jammin’ in the Childrenscorner”, as scratchy and spiky as “All the Things You Are” is pillow-soft. The Michael Arbenz composition “Clear Light”, meanwhile, with Liebman seemingly alternating between flute and sax, is the most far-out musical departure, a delicate piece of gossamer textures exploring the area where the eerie meets the beautiful in an evocative musical language Impressionism that draws on minimalism as well as jazz.  

There’s a deeply satisfying sense of craftsmanship and balance about this album, with both compositions and solos shared amongst the group. There’s no ostentatiousness about the way they take everything in their stride, from the intense, grappling seven minutes’ improvisation of “Stories of a Century” to the marshmallow-sweetness of “April in Paris”, but for a demonstration of what the jazz trio has been, and can be, it’s hard to imagine anyone doing it better.

For a demonstration of what the jazz trio has been, and can be, it’s hard to imagine anyone doing it better

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Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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