Tuesday, October 2, 2012

VEIN feat. Dave Liebman

Vein feat. Dave Liebman
Unit Records - UTR 4384
Michael Arbenz - piano | Florian Arbenz - drums | Thomas Lähns - bass | Dave Liebman - soprano/ tenor sax

The Swiss piano trio Vein has released their 2nd CD on Unit records this time featuring special guest Dave Liebman. Recorded in two of Europe's leading jazz venues (Sunset in Paris and the Altes Phandhaus in Cologne) the CD features a combination of original material together with a number of standards.

First cab off the rank is the Brubeck standard In “Your Own Sweet Way”. Dave Liebman opens this straight ahead swinger with a beautiful rendition of the melody leading to a typical Liebman style solo full of harmonic and rhythmic tension.  Title track “Lemuria”, composed by pianist Michael Arbenz settles straight into a solid rock groove providing a strong foundation for soloists Liebman and Michael Arbenz to explore the edges of tonality. 

The ballad, “I Loves You Porgy”, is a Vein standard and also appears on their first release on Unit records “Porgy & Bess” (UTR 4284). The track opens with a beautiful sax and piano duet, Michael Arbenz continues with a tasteful solo including some very well placed Gershwin style licks. 

Vein original “Evolution” provides room for bassist Thomas Lähns to show his virtuosity prior to opening up into a free style improvisation leading to a superb drum solo by Florian Arbenz. Next up is Dave Liebmans composition “Climbing”. This track that provides the listener with a soundscape reminiscent of the ECM releases of the early 80’s. While originally written for Bobo Stenson this track appears for the first time on this CD.

The final track on the CD is an arrangement of the Gershwin standard summertime. On this track Lähns bass intro gives way to a complex funk grove, setting the stage for Liebman's sparse but rhythmically complex solo.

Once again the brothers Michael and Florian Arbenz (piano, drums) together with bassist Thomas Lähns have delivered a great set that highlights an almost empathic interplay between these talented musicians. Dave Liebman's inspiring playing demonstrates a level of interaction that can only be expected from a group of musicians creating great jazz from a position of mutual respect. Highly recommended.

Johan van Deeg

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