David Liebman is considered a renaissance man in contemporary music with a career stretching over forty years. He has played with many of the masters including Miles Davis, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin and others; what makes "Surreality" different from his many other releases is intensity created by the meeting with Marc Ribot, Brad Jones, Chad Taylor and Lewis Porter. Uncompromising tribute to the masters.
A really cool pairing of two relatively obscure and always overlooked early- to mid-'60s LPs by Jerry Lee Lewis that, respectively, capture him as a country crooner (and quite a good one) and a high-energy country-rocker with a bluesy edge. The original albums never sold any significant numbers to speak of, with the result that the material will essentially be new to all but the most hardcore fans. None of it is bad and a large portion of it is not only good but impressive, showing some sides to Lewis' talent that weren't always obvious amid the rippling ivories of the Sun Records hits.
Helen Merrill's first American record since 1968 (she had spent much time in Japan) is mostly a duet set with pianist John Lewis; three songs also have flutist Hubert Laws, bassist Richard Davis and drummer Connie Kay. The emphasis is on ballads, with all of the nine songs (other than the pianist's "The Singer") being quite well-known. The obvious empathy between Merrill and Lewis is well displayed on such numbers as "Django" (which has rarely been sung), "Angel Eyes," "Alone Together" and "Mad About the Boy." An introspective set full of subtle creativity.
Essence, released in 1962, allows space for improvising around the charts provided by vibraphonist Gary McFarland. Arranged by Lewis, it featuring an array of jazz greats including Eric Dolphy, Phil Woods, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson, Jimmy Giuffre, and Jim Hall.
Violinist Svend Asmussen (who has had too few of his albums through the decades available in the U.S.) teams up with pianist John Lewis, bassist Jimmy Woode and drummer Sture Kalin on this 1962 session from Stockholm, Sweden. Most notable is the repertoire: six Lewis originals (including "Django") and Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman." Asmussen fits in well with Lewis and brings a solid sense of swing to the somewhat complex music.