David Liebman’s latest installment Back On The Corner is loaded with trippy jazz compositions that show signs of Miles Davis’ tutelage from working with the master in the past. Combined with spontaneous scat shuffles in the instrumentation and lukewarm rhythmic movements, the album is textbook jazz relatable to Sun Ra.
Two tracks, "Ife" and "Black Satin," are remakes of Davis’ original work which bring out Liebman’s elastic fingers and complex ministrations on the saxophone delivering episodes of cool-cat wails. Liebman shows an experimental edge in his notations taking his cues from a voice that speaks to him from within, particularly on the two tracks written by Davis and the tune that initiates the album "5th Street." Liebman’s saxophone meanders all over the place as his band provides a good support for his expeditions.
One track which rises above the others is the abyss of echoey atmospherics on "Bela" culled from glossy ingots of the keyboards and guitar. The gentle sonic seraphim cascades have faint distortions which infuse the music with shots of cyber-fantasy effects.
Unique about Back On The Corner are the four interludes beginning with "Bass Interlude" and proceeding with "Drum Interlude," "Acoustic Guitar Interlude" and "Electric Guitar Interlude." The interludes give these instruments the spotlight while injecting the album with periods of short recesses that allows these instruments to individually usurp the listener’s attention. Liebman plays the wooden flute on the "Acoustic Guitar Interlude" with inexplicable delicacy and warmth in the rolls of notes lacing sensually around the acoustic vines.
The Latin-jazz motifs on "New Mambo" provide sprigs of saxophone improvisations against a relaxing headboard of drums rolls as "Mesa D’Espana" has elegant rows of peaks and troughs from Liebman on wooden flute and soprano saxophone. The upbeat tempo of "J.B. Meets Sly/5th Street Reprise" produces episodes of funky bass strides tattooed by dynamic saxophone curls. The movements have an emotive pulse with the instruments piercing into each other freely. The notations, jazz motifs, and accents are artfully crafted and project a free-thinking mindset.
Liebman and his band are traditional jazz cats that exhibit liveliness in their steps and an imagination that continually extends jazz music’s boundaries. Recorded at Bennett Studios in Tenafly, New Jersey on June 12th and 14th, 2006, Back On The Corner is free-from jazz that revisit’s the past while making contemporary turns by means of constant experimentation. Presiding in Liebman’s band are drummer Marko Marcinko, bassist Tony Marino and guitarists Vic Juris, Mike Stern and Anthony Jackson. If you can imagine a lab of scientists inputting their ideas into a vat that melts them into new physical forms, then you can conceptualize what Back On The Corner sounds like. The tracks are new music forms morphed from the sands of old ones.