Saxophone Summit

Gathering of Spirits

Telarc CD83607

Michael Brecker, tenor sax, kaval flute; Dave Liebman, tenor, soprano sax, Indian flute; Joe Lovano, tenor sax, alto clarinet, tarogato, African blackwood flute; Phil Markowitz, piano; Cecil McBee, bass; Billy Hart, drums

Gathering of Spirits is a tribute to the music of John Coltrane's last years, the period of "Interstellar Space," Stellar Regions" and "Meditations." This was a period of fervent soul searching and spirituality for him, almost as if he knew he would soon be on that last 'Trane out. His avant-garde music was difficult for many followers and no musician or groups of musicians have seriously addressed this beautiful but extremely intense body of work.

Brecker, Lovano and Liebman have been playing together sporadically since 1996 and are now calling themselves "Saxophone Summit." They absolutely worship John Coltrane.

This recording is a labor of love and an attempt to capture the beauty of Coltrane's late period compositions such as "Peace on Earth." They play "ethnic flutes" (their word not mine,) tenor and soprano saxes and on Dave Liebman's "Tricycle" Joe Lovano plays alto clarinet.

With all this fire power do they succeed in their lofty goal? Well..... compared to what? Certainly not compared to the John Coltrane of any period. That maybe unfair but how can you not compare this recording with the music of the spiritual father? Don't think of a purple alligator.

Probably with great difficulty the listener needs to put 'Trane's music aside. What we have here is a fervent gathering of spirits of like minds playing the late music of John Coltrane as well as original compositions. The playing is inspired, varied, sometimes moody and other times all out blowing. There's never a sense of the traditional sax battle. As a tribute to The Master does it succeed? Well,compared to what?

by David Heymann

Jazz Now Interactive November 2004 Vol 14 No. 7 - Table of Contents

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