With a long and exceptional career already behind him Dave Liebman shows no sign of flagging. Quite the opposite. His latest, Lieb Plays the Blues a la Trane (DayBreak 75978), is a sax-bass-drums trio in a live setting, an ideal way to hear Lieb. And of course he returns to his roots on this album to re-examine his debt to the Master, John Coltrane, and the blues in-and-out that Trane pioneered.
The bass and drums are handled well by two players with whom I am not familiar: Marius Beets provides the deftly executed bass underpinning and Eric Ineke puts the swing on solid footing with an assertive post-Elvin drumming style.
The program touches on some key pieces with which Trane was intrinsically linked. You get Miles' All Blues," Duke Ellington's Take the Coltrane," plus Tranes' own Up Against the Wall," Mr. P.C.," and the less-often-played Village Blues."
As has thankfully been the case in the last few years, Lieb is back on tenor as well as soprano. In both he shows his own great mastery. It is a fitting tribute to one of the major forces in music of the past 100 years. It is also a tribute to Mr. Liebman himselfwho has so vibrantly created his own exceptional improvisational brilliance over the edifice that Trane built for all of us.