While the blues is one of the clearest roots of conventional jazz tradition, few but saxophonist Dave Liebman could release an album that covers as many stylistic bases as Blues All Ways. There's good reason why Liebman can create a blues homage ranging from the 7/4 Memphis shuffle of "Elvis the Pelvis" and lithe, harmonically sophisticated swinger "Down Time" to the ethereal "Riz's Blues." With a quartet with this much shared history, the saxophonist has a lean but highly flexible unit that can not only handle anything he throws at it, but can lob more than a few surprises back at him. Any release from this group is worth hearing but Blues All Ways, like the largely undiscovered masterpiece Conversation (Sunnyside, 2003), stands out amongst its growing discography.
Welcome to another selection of modern progressive music for you to enjoy, with the latest Prog cover CD. As usual, there is a mix of bands, some of whom we all know, some of whom we are acquainting ourselves with for the very first time. The Von Hertzen Brothers' ebullient "Long Lost Sailor" is from an album which sees them strongly reconnect with their prog base, Norwegians When Mary take us into a dark electronic universe and the UK's own I Am The Manic Whale feature in this issue's Limelight section. While the taster for Gleb Kolyadin's forthcoming solo album, featuring Marillion's Steve Hogarth on vocals, has us eagerly anticipating the full album. The remainder of tracks offer an enjoyable take of instrumental prog (Anders Buaas, Corciolli, Orpheus Nine) and with vocals (Machines Dream, The Mighty Handful, Lunar). Thoroughly enjoyable fare.