David Liebman, The Elements: Water Review
David Liebman is a saxophonist, composer, educator, and author releasing a series of albums inspired by the four elements. The first installment is titled, The Elements: Water. Liebman composed and created the project with his three bandmates in mind, 20-time GRAMMY-Award winner Pat Metheny on guitar, Cecil McBee on bass, and Billy Hart on drums. Together they examine the extensive and mysterious nature of water through ten tracks. The music is modern jazz in its foundation and ranges from impressionistic ballads to tsunamis of free jazz, from groove to straight-ahead swing. This concept album is easy to follow, and its diversity and colors are highly unique in the scheme of jazz quartets.
“Water: Giver of Life” opens the album and introduces the central theme carried through the entire project. Metheny’s unaccompanied guitar intro is excellent. Once the quartet enters, the melody is memorable, and the quartet interacts and listens purposefully. Metheny’s nylon-strung guitar’s texture adds to the folk-jazz narrative.
“White Caps” opens with McBee’s slide figures and double stops on the bass. Eventually, the quartet develops a groove-based feel that one can hear the depiction of the title. Metheny uses an electric guitar with synth sounds to get another character. Everyone plays beautifully; this is Liebman’s best moment during his solo.
“Heaven’s Gift” is a straightforward swing selection with a catchy melody and a familiar chord progression. Here Metheny is on his signature arch-top guitar, giving yet another color to the ensemble. Metheny’s guitar solo is excellent and one of the best on the date.
“Reflection Pool” is a beautiful and rare moment for a jazz quartet, with Metheny on his Pikasso guitar, a multi-neck guitar with 42 strings. The quartet brings a new-age meditative style to the jazz table with much success. Liebman switches to a wood flute to further the reflective nature of the composition.
Overall, The Elements: Water is a powerful jazz expression led by Liebman. The quartet is very interactive and elastic in presenting the various jazz styles. Metheny’s ability to achieve many colors and textures is crucial to the project.
Liebman’s vision and focus on a central theme is also a keystone. In conclusion, this is a beautiful concept album to push your ears into new directions in jazz. That’s the short of it!
Connect with David Liebman: Website |
The Elements: Water
October 14, 2022