Thursday, February 23, 2006

If Only They Knew

If Only They Knew
Timeless SJP 151

Recorded 14th July, 1980

Side One

1. If Only They Knew
2. Capistrano
3. Moontide

Side Two

1. Reunion
2. Autumn In New York
3. Move On Some


DAVID LIEBMAN; tenor and soprano sax
TERUMASA HIND; trumpet, flugelhorn
RON McCLURE; acoustic bass

Jazz in the 1980s could be pretty horrendous at times. Taking it's cue from 70s fusion, there were a lot of loud guitars, soprano saxophones and bongo drums, but often combined with slick production and shiny suits to make music that was neither good jazz nor good commercial music (whatever that is). A few artists managed to keep on bringing out quality records, though, usually those who had been closely connected with the music when it began in the early 1970s.

So it was with Dave Liebman, one time Miles Davis sideman and present day jazz educator. This record brings his fusion leanings and grafts on a slice of bop to create massively enjoyable, if not terribly original music. Fusion being much derided at the time of this LP's release, Liebman chose the title for this record as a riposte to his critics. "If Only They Knew"... how much passion and commitment, how much sheer talent went into records like these, they'd surely think differently.

The talent on show is impressive - John Scofield brings his instantly recognisable guitar sound, to great effect. Find of the record for me is the little known Terumasa Hind on trumpet, who brings a huge bop influence to tracks like 'Autumn In New York' with his Freddie Hubbard-like tone and delivery.

Revisiting his Miles Davis connection, Liebman would be instrumental in bringing Scofield to Miles' attention, leading to his association with the trumpeter on many 1980s recordings.

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