Give the Drummers Some

Claes OLDENBURG  Miniature soft drum set // National Gallery of Australia


Dave Liebman
Drum Ode
ECM : 1975
d/l @ Amazon

The Call: DL, tenor sax; Bob Moses and Jeff Williams, drums.
Satya Dhwana: DL, alto flute; John Abercrombie, guitar; Badal Roy and Collin Walcott, tablas.

By 1974, Dave Liebman was deep with some heavy Miles Davis juju. His first night in with the Miles band was January 12, 1973 — Fillmore Village East, New York. “To say it took me awhile to get a grasp of what was happening would be an understatement,” he later wrote. He was on tour with Davis for most of 1973, and cut the epochal Dark Magus at Carnegie Hall in early ’74, following up with a turn on “He Loved Him Madly.”

So when one sees the percussion-heavy line-up on Drum Ode, recorded late ’74, it’s not hard to imagine where the inspiration came from. Echoes abound — not least the heavy echo on Liebman’s horn itself in “The Call.” The double-drumming sets a martial tone that quickly slides into heaving backbeats, charging forward under Liebman’s full-throated flight. More of a nod at, rather than a straight cover of, the Henry Grimes tune.

Different story altogether on the rather lovely “Satya Dhwana,” which follows a rubato Abercrombie opening with a flute/tablas combo supported by guitar accents. There’s the slightest hint of pachouli in the air, but Liebman, Roy, and Walcott work together beautifully, forging an East/West hybrid that is miles away from the roiling skronk of Magus.

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