REVIEWS

  Spiderwebmandala  Line Art Records (LA1004)

Spiderwebmandala
Line Art Records (LA1004)

 

When it comes to progressive jazz piano, there are many worthy names on the current scene, but none are more satisfying to me than Carol Liebowitz. This is in part through her special affinity for duo exchange, with her playing on the recent First Set with saxophonist Nick Lyons a consistent grabber. This meeting with clarinetist Bill Payne is just as choice. They’ve recorded together before, on a sweet trio disc with violinist Eva Lindal in fact, and while the improvisations captured here (in live performance) surely benefit from familiarity, this CD offers chance-taking and surprise throughout. Additionally, on two selections, there is the added value of the post-Beat (think Snyder or Whalen) and utterly non-clichéd poetic syllables of Mark Weber.
—Joseph Neff, www.thevinyldistrict.com

 

Highly Original Hypnotic Freeform Jazz

Over a year ago, I was first exposed to Carol’s highly original jazz, and found it to be totally delightful; it got high ratings, to be sure… on her upcoming September, 2018 release, her piano is complimented (very nicely, indeed) by clarinet from Bill Payne, as well as guest poetry from one of my favorite spoken-word artists, Mark Weber… just listen to Mark’s brilliant vocal interaction on the title track, “Spiderweb Mandala,” and you’ll be an instant believer in the power these folks convey.

The intricate sonic tapestry that Carol and Bill weave for you on “Secrets” will remain high on your playlists for months (maybe even years) to come if you enjoy freeform jazz without restrictions! This is one of the most accessible “out there” tunes I’ve heard in a good long while…

The oddly titled “Mixtures of Aroma in the Smoke” puts you right there in the thick of things, especially when Weber lays his marvelous and intriguing poetry in between the notes of the players!

It is the longest performance on the album that got my vote for personal favorite of the nine songs offered up… “Notes on a Dream” allows you to aurally “see” their vision, and will spirit you (quickly) into the exciting ether of existence.

I give Carol, Bill and Mark a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for this excellent aural adventure, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99. Get more information about Carol and her projects on the Carol Liebowitz website.
—Dick Metcalf, editor, www.contemporaryfusionreviews.com

 

“a master class in free jazz and spontaneous improvisation”
—Jonathan Widran, www.jwvibe.com
Full Review

 

“Hidden Canyon” and “Secrets” seemed to me the pinnacles of this duet co-creation.... the freedom of creative self-expression, born “here and now”.... The result in the form of the album SPIDERWEBMANDALA may interest people with very different, even polar tastes.”
—Leonid Auskern, jazzquad.ru
Full Review (translated from Russian)


  Poetry from the Future  Line Art Records (LA1003)

Poetry from the Future
Line Art Records (LA1003)

 

"All the pieces presented here are collective improvisations and the listener’s engagement will undoubtedly be enhanced by the veritable smorgasbord of instrumentation involved.
—Roger Farbey, All About Jazz
Full Review
 

“It’s a beautiful mesh of players. . . . all four musicians merging into a unique soundscape.”

—Robert Iannapollo, The New York City Jazz Record
Full Review
 

“ . . . the musicians transmit irrefutable camaraderie while engineering instantaneous compositions that possess pliable foundations and fluidly developed mini-motifs. Indeed, it’s poetry-in-motion.”

—Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz
Full Review
 

“. . . the thoughtful improvisations are unpredictable yet calm and focused. . . . Much of this reminds me of Morton Feldman, sparse in part with each note being carefully selected. . . . If this is indeed Poetry from the Future, then we are in good hands.”

—Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
Full Review
 

“This criss-cross collective energy, issuing creatively from myriad exponents of experimental composition-improvisation, be it Braxton, Lake or Burton Greene, hinges on the listening as well as playing abilities of the artists, who, in this instance, show a lot of admirable restraint. This absorbing session, its sensations as much like breath under water as a cry into a valley, upholds that rich legacy.”

—Kevin Le Gendre, Jazzwise
Full Review
 

“… very, VERY impressive work… MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED…”

—Rotcod Zzaj (Dick Metcalf), contemporaryfusionreviews.com
Full Review
 

“. . . abounds with bright sonoristic colors and unexpected development of compositions which are almost impossible to predict. . . . everything is ruled by the power of collective creativity.”

—Leonid Auskern, jazzquad.ru
Full Review
 

“Their listening and responding skills are exquisitely honed—to the point of spiritual exercise — and with absolute command of their instruments, they deliver a three-dimensional music that is continually surprising and coherent. It keeps moving forward but in unexpected paths — kind of an aural equivalent of the three-dimensional patterns that a cloud of starlings creates in the air. . . .The music breathes from beginning to end.”

—Mel Minter, melminter.com (musically speaking)
Full Review
 

“To Be Continued takes a new approach. . . .The result is the art of sound. . . . It is the perfect album for jazz fans who think they have heard it all when it comes to improvised jazz.”

—Dodie Miller-Gould, lemonwire.com
Full Review


  First Set  Line Art Records (LA1002)

First Set
Line Art Records (LA1002)

 

“ … the music proceeds intimately, almost as in a flashback of ideas, dense with meaning…. ‘Roy’s Joy,’ with the alto sax’s beautiful lines, clean and precise, is a truly inspired performance…. The two musicians know how to seduce the listener and leave a deep mark in his state of being.”

—Vittorio Lo Conte,musiczoom.it
Full Review (translated from original Italian)
 

“These recordings attest to an almost telepathic connection,
as subtle and translucent as the most exquisite Flemish lace…”

—Leonid Auskern, jazzquad.ru
Full Review (translated from original Russian)
 

“Both players evince an acute sensitivity to one another and to their own internal impulses, keeping the music alive and unpredictable across a wide expanse of human feeling.”

“Lyons’ expressive tone has an almost human vocal quality, and Liebowitz’s visceral command of the piano’s sonorities, her skillful use of the pedals, and her lightning-quick reflexes create a lush environment for exploration.”

—Mel Minter, melminter.com
(musically speaking: an avid listener’s observations)
Full Review
 

“… sublime and filled with subtle spirits…. This is a great duo…”

—Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
Full Review
 

“This improvisational pair recalls the duo performances of Steve Lacy and Mal Waldron in style and intensity…. almost telepathic… hypnotically engaging…”

—Roger Farbey, All About Jazz
Full Review
 

“… the pianist and saxophonist very comfortably establish their own sonic terrain right from the outset…. fans of Cecil Taylor-esque ivory thunder are likely to appreciate, but it’s worth emphasizing how Liebowitz and Lyons are both refreshingly unburdened by influence…”

—Joseph Neff, thevinyldistrict.com
Full Review
 

“… a true gem…. this January 2017 release comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED…”

—Dick Metcalf, Contemporary Fusion Reviews
Full Review


  Payne Lindal Liebowitz  Line Art Records (LA1001)

Payne Lindal Liebowitz
Line Art Records (LA1001)

 

“The soliloquies merge forming a sublime crystalline sonic structure of shimmering hues…. intense and gripping…. eloquent and wistful poetry…. high caliber musicianship and intelligent, electrifying artistry…”

—Hrayr Attarian, All About Jazz
Full Review
 

 “This trio is quite an original group…. poised in the realm of a highly communicative chamber music, in which pure improvisation reigns supreme…. It is an intense album that will not go unnoticed.”

—Vittorio Lo Conte, musiczoom.it
Full Review (translated from original Italian)
 

“Simply put, they sound like no one else…. a soundscape in which each dynamic and rhythmic contrast is of the utmost importance…. The recording is superb…. captures the perfect environment for this supremely sensitive trio, from whom I hope we hear a lot more.”

—Marc Medwin, Cadence Magazine
Full Review
 

“… it is immediately obvious that the three are totally compatible as improvisers, already sounding as if they have years of improvising experience together…. the key to this trio’s compatibility is the presence of three distinct, separate voices that each have their own story to tell but not at the expense of the others.”

—John Eyles, All About Jazz
Full Review
 

“It is a very imaginative trio music we hear…. All are very accomplished artists and the expression ‘the whole is more than the sum of its parts’ certainly applies…. Highly recommended…. There is much to appreciate!”

—Grego Applegate Edwards, gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.com
Full Review
 

“Clearly creative improvisation is the watchword of Line Art Records.”

—Leonid Auskern, jazzquad.ru
Full Review (translated from original Russian)


see LineArtRecords.com for more reviews


SOLO PIANO CONCERT

The Stone — September 20, 2009
Review by Mark Weber
(from Mark’s blog “9 Nights at The Stone, New York City”)

So, when Carol walked to the piano and sat down to play solo the only surprise that it was nothing short of great was: that it was one of the great solo piano recitals since Steinway shot his first elephant. It was outside the category of “great” or “good” and “best” it was phenomenal. The level of honesty and the huge leaps into meaningfulness that took place, not to mention just the great sounds she created. Even if she wasn’t playing stories and spinning lyric portraits for us, just the intriguing sounds she conjured out of that Yamaha were enough.... Somebody like Carol Liebowitz must have already had the germination of such ideas to have searched out Connie to be her teacher so many years ago. A case of the student being ready for the lesson.... Like those ancient philosophers who point out that your most beautiful self is already there from the beginning, that, because of the demands of modern life, it becomes layered and blanketed by our masks and our public persona.

Carol’s music this night was somewhat somber, though not melancholic or dark, it just seems related to the seriousness she finds in the music, and then, in turn, what the music tells her about herself. No, she’s not tearing her heart out and flogging it on stage. But, she is being completely open and honest. In a lot of ways it was my favorite concert of the series, it just completely knocked me over. [NOTE to Carol: please release this concert on CD.] We were watching a great spirit reveal herself in the great mysteries of life, and reverence and joy and wonder. The chords were like nothing I’ve ever heard, the cadences so complex and clear you felt like you were watching a master painter like Pissarro taking his canvas out for a spin.... Carol told stories with her music, and what an amazing left hand, wow. It quite simply was one of the greatest solo piano concerts I’ve ever witnessed, easily on the same level as Harvey Diamond’s of two nights previous. Easily on the same level of expression as the Horace Tapscott solo piano recitals of the 1980s (examples of which are found on Nimbus West Records). I had heard her two CDs on New Artists Records but had not heard her play solo before. My big dream is to present Carol, Virg, Kazzrie, and Connie, in Albuquerque, this town would love their music. Carol also makes extensive use of foot pedals. She’d have big cloud formations of dense gorgeous dissonant block chords (like Chris Kelsey says in his great blog review, something about the “dissonant” chords made them seem consonant) and then an abrupt halt and a little crystalline melody would shoot out as she builds another construction of harmony around it.... Carol would reference only briefly, in impressionistic wisps, faint echoes, whatever melody she had used as her departure. That old departure and return, as the classical world would have it. The only tune she announced, was “That was Lennie Tristano’s line ‘Leave Me’” that he wrote on “Love Me or Leave Me.” She chose not to sing this night, on purpose. The other tunes she used for launching were “Out of Nowhere” “What is This Thing Called Love” “How About You” and a few free shots. What is the logic Carol has figured out for these dense chords and how they ring so deep and true, and mostly how she has worked out chord movement, chord progressions, with these monsters, is truly a marvel. There must be inner notes stringing them together, whatever it is, it is pure pleasure to listen to.... She grew up in the Bronx, has lived her entire life in NYC. Earlier, while waiting for an F train she said that she meant to title one of her free improvisations after something Phil Schaap had played on his WKCR Bird Flight radio show that morning — ie. Barry Ulanov’s All-Star Modern Jazz Musicians, Sept. 20, 1947, Bird, Diz, Lennie, Max, Billy Bauer, et al. — that was exactly 62 years ago that day. Well, when she puts out the CD of this magnificent concert she can rectify that oversight.


Review by Chris Kelsey:

...she doesn’t sound much like any­one but her­self. Her set con­sisted of a dozen-or-so short, freely impro­vised vignettes. She took care to con­trast each move­ment from the one before it, fol­low­ing loud with soft, busy with laconic. She made good use of par­al­lel har­monies; most of her play­ing was chordal, mak­ing her infre­quent use of sin­gle lines all the more strik­ing. Liebowitz’s con­so­nances were touched with dis­so­nance, and her dis­so­nances pos­sessed the clar­ity of a major triad. The indi­vid­ual pieces, as well as the con­cert itself, were mod­els of con­ci­sion. After each, Liebowitz would look up shyly, as if to cue the capac­ity audi­ence that she had fin­ished, though there was sel­dom any doubt, so well-constructed were her improvisations.


  Waves of Blue Intensities  New Artists Records (NA1021CD)

Waves of Blue Intensities
New Artists Records (NA1021CD)

 

“Liebowitz is a rhythmically sophisticated improviser who is unafraid of dissonance. . . . The juxtaposition of the new with the traditional is what this duo is all about. It’s an often fascinating combination.”
—Carl Baugher, Cadence


“. . . in Liebowitz’s vocal excursions, snippets of lyrics spine fine connecting threads to the original songs, but from there on the web takes on unpredictable designs.”
—Lois Moody, Jazz News


“Quite an unusual album, and one worth hearing.”
—Chris Kelsey, Jazz Now


  Time on My Hands  New Artists Records (NA1029CD)

Time on My Hands
New Artists Records (NA1029CD)

 

“From the first chorus she bends the lyrics through her sweeping, melismatic improvisations. The impression is that Liebowitz is improvising the lyrics. This gives the poetry an urgent edge. I found myself hearing the lyrics afresh. 'Love Me or Leave Me' is emotionally wrenching in a way I’ve never heard it.”
—David Dupont, Cadence