Vibraphonist Ed Saindon, a proponent of the 4-mallet approach, is a masterful musician capable of dazzling runs as well as of delightful passages, often in the same song. The song list, written almost entirety by him, also points to the work of a creative composer. Coupled with soprano saxophonist Dave Liebman, a veteran of work with Miles Davis and Elvin Jones, among many others (McLaughlin, Metheny, etc), bassist David Clark and drummer Mark Walker, Saindon is a captivating master of his instruments.
Opening with "The Last Goodbye," a piece composed in memory of Herb Pomeroy, the renown educator with whom Saindon played in duet format with for many years, the assembled players are delicate and seem to take flight, with Liebman, especially, darting in and out of the melody. "The Healing" is textural, moody and moving, with Saindon playing beautifully.
The two covers are back to back. "Green Dolphin Street" and "Moon River" are both given impressive readings. Liebman doesn’t play outside, but he sometimes skirts the fringes on the former, while Saindon’s delightfully surprising piano takes center stage on the latter. The piano work continues on "Tokyo Nights," with Liebman offering simpatico accompaniment. Saindon’s marimba work on "Giorgio’s Theme" offers yet another aspect of his talent. Liebman stretches a bit on "Alpine Sunset," a piece that allows equal space for Clark to solo underneath.
The final five selections are solo piano pieces that are often breathtaking for their finesse and delicacy. The pieces are recorded separately, but sound like a suite in their breadth and similarity.
Surely there have been a handful of impressive vibe players. Very few of them mastered a four mallet approach. Only Gary Burton comes immediately to mind. Ed Saindon is a master player. That he is as ease and as impressive at the piano makes him that much more of an imposing musical presence. A brilliant recording.