REVIEWS

  Malita-Malika  Leo Records (LR 838)

Malita-Malika
Leo Records (LR 838)

 

Carol Liebowitz is a specialist in one-on-one improvisation.

Of the pianist’s seven albums to date, five have been duo projects, mostly with saxophonists. And we’re not talking about quiet runs through a handful of standards; her duets tend to be collectively improvised, deeply conversational and quite fond of taking risks.

Malita-Malika, recorded with German tenor saxophonist Birgitta Flick, breaks with that model a bit. Flick—who’s probably best known through Flickstick, the quintet she co-leads with German trombonist Lisa Stick—is a strongly melodic player whose carefully shaped lines have a wistful lyricism that sometimes verges on melancholy, a sound that balances so naturally against Liebowitz’s intricately prodding piano that it would be easy to mistakenly assume that parts of improvisations like “Moon” and “Jasmine” were written out. The title track actually was (it’s one of Flick’s), yet the playing is so in character with the composition that the dividing line between reading and improvising all but disappears.

There also are some standards in the mix, two of which are sung by Liebowitz. She does a lovely job with the Harry Warren/Al Dubin chestnut “September In the Rain” (which is introduced by a playful rendition of Billy Bauer’s “Marionette”). But it’s her powerfully emotional rendering of “You Don’t Know What Love Is” that really makes the album. Where other versions tend to focus on the regret within the lyric, Liebowitz makes us also hear the anger bubbling beneath those words, not only in the edge in her voice, but in how the harmonies darken as she sings of having “kissed and had to pay the cost.” Add in Flick’s breathless blues abstraction, and it becomes the perfect torch song for the #MeToo era.
—J.D. Considine
Downbeat, Editors’s Picks, November 2018

On Malita-Malika,* the pairing of the German saxophonist Birgitta Flick and the American pianist/vocalist Carol Liebowitz, both classically trained on their instruments, delivers a musical offering that captures the ear and the imagination from the very first delicate-as-lace moments of the opening track, “Moon.” Here we hear the fluid dexterity of Flick’s sax and the drama of Liebowitz’s piano that course through all 11 tracks, including 8 improvisations, 2 jazz standards, and an original composition from Flick that gives the album its name.

Flick’s warm and woody sound contains something wild at its heart—an animal quality from nature. A storyteller of expressive power, she maps stories from the heart in elegant lines buzzing with imagination.

Liebowitz’s touch—now delicate, now blunt, now muscular, now pensive—captures every nuance of feeling. She marches block chords across the soundscape in thrillingly incremental progressions and arpeggiates shimmering webs of colored sound into being.

Liebowitz’s vocal on two tracks—“Marionette/September in the Rain” and “You Don’t Know What Love Is”—reveals masterful phrasing and an affecting ache. She’s as accomplished a vocalist as she is a pianist, and these two tracks are among the album’s highlights. Flick’s sax wreathes itself around the voice while Liebowitz’s piano expands the songs’ possibilities. Flick delivers a beautiful solo, thick with longing, on “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” and Liebowitz’s piano splits the song open like a ripe fruit as her voice deepens the lamentation.

Other highlights include a hallucinatory excursion on “Visions,” which resolves into a lovely meditative calm; a heavy, humid, scented air on “Jasmine;” an agile delicacy on “Hummingbird,” with Liebowitz arpeggiating in the upper register behind Flick’s winged sax; and on “Sensucht,” a brief and haunting beauty.

What continues to astound is the continuity of the music and its coherence, despite the absence, on most tracks, of any guideposts. The logic of the music remains intact at every moment, even when the two might be at cross-purposes, as they are at the beginning of “Crossed Lines.” These aren’t conversations really, because in conversations, the participants typically alternate their contributions. Here, though, the music is delivered simultaneously by both. It’s more a seat-of-the-pants collaboration than conversation, and the music flows without resistance and without ego, riding on a trust that is rewarded moment after moment.

For listeners who give themselves over to the flow, Malita-Malika will reward them, too, taking them to places otherwise inaccessible.
—Mel Minter, melminter.com (musically speaking)


With the release of the uniquely compelling, exotically titled collection Malita-Malika just a few months after her equally provocative set Spiderwebmandala with clarinetist Bill Payne, NYC pianist Carol Liebowitz continues to showcase her masterful ability to draw listeners in with a dynamic range of free improvisation duets.

The new album finds her creating a compelling, multi mood-swinging duality with veteran German tenor saxophonist Birgitta Flick, whom she first met at a Berlin Jazz club in 2010. Four years later, when their paths crossed later in New York, they played together over the course of several months. Full of dark, offbeat, frenetic angles and brighter, lyrical moments of uncommon, melodic grace — sometimes within the same piece — Malita-Malika is the fruit of their extraordinary chemistry.

The duo’s set includes nine originals and fresh, dreamscape like strolls through “September in the Rain” (paired as a medley with “Marionette”) and “You Don’t Know What Love Is” — both of which give us an opportunity to hear the multi-talented Liebowitz’s exquisite lead vocals.
—Jonathan Widran, www.jwvibe.com

 

“. . . as an expression of musical spontaneity it is quite impressive.”
thevinylanachronist.blogspot.com

“In the duo, Carol and Birgitta interact perfectly, but do not limit their own freedom of expression. Perhaps that is why listening to Malita-Malika is a great pleasure, which I hope will be shared with me by potential listeners of this work.”
—Leonid Auskern, jazzquad.ru

Liebowitz & Flick’s Surprisingly Brilliant CD
Here’s a very unusual jazz CD. When I first saw the cover and looked at the titles of the tunes being played, I said to myself, Oh, no! Not another mooshy-gooshy “ambient jazz” CD! I get so many of them as proposed review material, and every time I put them on and hear that soft, tinkly piano and/or those whispery, echt-sexy vocals, I just want to take the CD off my player and smash it. (I do NOT respond to mushy music of any genre.)

But this one took me by surprise. Liebowitz and Flick, who originally met in Berlin in 2010 and again in New York in 2014, are free jazz artists. Their music veers in and out of tonality, constantly shifts rhythms, uses tone clusters and is, for the most part, improvised on one or two short licks rather than tunes in the conventional sense. And they are BRILLIANT. They follow each other in and out of musical nooks and crannies, corners and crevices, sometimes a bit far out but for the most part stunningly together in their musical train of thought.

Moreover, in certain works, such as “Portrait,” their music is less harmonically complex and uses tonality more consistently. In the liner notes, Flick and Liebowitz are quoted as saying, “Whether it is a spontaneous free improvisation or a standard that dates back nearly a century — to us it’s all one: we’re guided by the spirit and the intuition of the very moment the music comes into being. A continuity of feeling and inspiration, each time anew.”

Interestingly, Flick’s method of playing the tenor saxophone uses a dry, vibratoless tone, and possibly a hard reed, which gives her perfect control high up in the instrument’s range. Most of the time, it sounds much more like an alto sax than a tenor, even more so than Lester Young’s dry, vibratoless timbre. (My late jazz friend, Frank Powers, one told me that he thought that Paul Desmond of the Dave Brubeck Quartet was playing a soprano sax because of the same thing, the dry tone—Desmond called it “dry martinis”—and light, airy sound.) Due to their open-mindedness in alternating between tonality and atonality, the duo’s music has a more varied sound and feeling than those musicians who remain adamantly in atonal realms. And the listener is kept tuned in because he or she really doesn’t know what to expect, which makes the listening experience an adventure as well as stimulating. It is both a sensual and an intellectual experience. In a strange way, they almost make you feel as if you were looking into their souls or psyches as they play.

A detailed description of their playing would take more space than I have on this blog, but as a general description they alternate between elegant, curved musical lines and edgy ones. In a piece like “Malita-Malika,” they keep the music pared down to basics, almost moving together one note or phrase at a time, and in Hummingbird they actually do simulate the flutter of wings while exploring swirling, bitonal lines, feeding each other motifs, sometimes together and at other times separately. Their sense of unity is so complete that you’d think they had been playing together for years rather than sporadically.

I was particularly surprised to see Billy Bauer’s “Marionette” on the program. For those who don’t know, this was one of the tracks recorded in the very first free jazz session headed by pianist Lennie Tristano, back in 1949, and it is oddly juxtaposed with the old Dubin-Warren classic “September in the Rain.” The two don’t really go together, but somehow the duo make it work despite Liebowitz’ whispery vocal. The same may also be said for “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” although Flick’s wonderful a cappella saxophone intro holds one’s attention, and here Liebowitz’ vocal sounds hipper and less ballad-y. The saxist’s fills behind Liebowitz are also very effective in this number, and in the middle section they explore the music instrumentally.

Overall, this is a marvelous recording, and I urge you to listen to it.
—Lynn René Bayley, www.artmusiclounge.com

 

Extraordinarily skillful jazz  soundscapes
I’ve reviewed Carol’s wonderful jazz piano soundscapes before, most recently on her SpiderWebMandala with clarinetist Bill Payne… in this new set of sonic adventures with saxophonist Birgitta, their jazz skill together shines brilliantly, and will lure your ears into their siren song without you even noticing you’ve been bewitched… the video below is from about 3 years ago, but still shows their easy pacing and captivating phrasing…

…be sure you SUBSCRIBE to Carol’s YouTube channel, where you’ll find many other performance videos, too.

The 5:11 “Visions” is a perfect testimony to the creative juices that flow together in, ’round and through their souls – not to mention their instruments… they first met way back in 2010, and have since toured together extensively… you’ll hear the familiarity and comfort they have established on this dynamic and penetrating piece!

I especially enjoyed Birgitta’s original (the title track), “Malita-Malika“, and have little doubt readers who understand that truly good jazz is shaped by the spirit, rather than just being a series of “written notes”… this is definitely THE best piano/sax duo I’ve heard (yet) in 2018.

Their marvelous performance together on the standard “You Don’t Know What Love Is“, is definitely not the “standard” your grandpa smooth-danced to “back in the day”… they explore the very inner depths, and the vocal will stir feelings that you thought long lost… I’ll tell you right up front – you’ve never heard this beautiful song performed as well as this.

I give this engaging jazz duo a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99… learn more at Birgitta’s site, or over on Carol’s pages
—Dick Metcalf, editor, Contemporary Fusion Reviews

 


  Spiderwebmandala  Line Art Records (LA1004)

Spiderwebmandala
Line Art Records (LA1004)

 

In May 2016, a cohort of musicians who share a connection with the late pianists Connie Crothers and Lennie Tristano took over the Outpost Performance Space in Albuquerque for two nights of intuitive improvisation. Among those remarkable musicians were pianist Carol Liebowitz and clarinetist Bill Payne, who together created music that was never heard before and would never be played again. Without sheet music or knowing what they were going to play before they played it, these two virtuosi created a set of unpredictable but coherent and affecting music that followed a logic based on the feeling of the moment. About 150 lucky individuals, including me, were in the audience that night for this daring excursion, and now the rest of the world can share it on the live recording, Spiderwebmandala. The nine tracks on the album draw from a variety of genres—classical, jazz, circus music, what-have-you—and covers ground that ranges from the impressionistic to the sharp edged, the mysterious to the celebratory, the lyrical to the concrete. Two of the tracks include spoken word contributions from poet Mark Weber—the album takes its name from one of his poems—who also produced the concert, along with Janet Simon and the Outpost’s executive director, Tom Guralnick.

On the opener, “Deep Sky,” Payne’s clarinet zips around with the startling speed, sudden redirections, and magical accuracy of a hummingbird, his microtonal exactitude opening the subtlest shades of feeling. Liebowitz splashes lush and suddenly shifting swathes of color in tunefully dissonant arpeggios, like schools of tiny fish swirling in three-dimensional kaleidoscopic displays. Speaking of kaleidoscopes, “Spiderweb Mandala Flower Explosion Poem: Drishti,” inspired by the phantasmagoric Weber poem of the same name, opens with a wonderfully agitated section: water droplets on a hot skillet. The cat-and-mouse of “Secrets” probes at something hidden but offers the possibility of revelation. “Desert Dance” feels like the musical equivalent of myth: as reassuring as it is disquieting. On “Notes on a Dream,” the duo’s magical simultaneity and confluences reach a dazzling pinnacle. Payne goes pathfinding in an Ellingtonian wood in his solo, while on hers, Liebowitz explores deep harmonies that betray her classical training. On “Vanishing Point,” the two engage in an aerial dance free of gravity. The music on Spiderwebmandala is not easy. It requires listeners to relax both their ears and their expectations and give themself up to the flow. You won’t be humming this music at the end, but it may set you to humming.
—Mel Minter, melminter.com (musically speaking)

 

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

 

“Liebowitz and Payne owe no allegiance to anything or anyone. Their opening missive—“Deep Sky”—makes that abundantly clear. Angular queries, headlong dives, searching glances, and dalliances with discord all inform that bewitching piece and much of what follows it. . . . On “Spiderweb Mandala Flower Explosion Poem: Drishti,” Weber’s words elicit sonic reflections and refractions from Liebowitz and Payne, as sound and light bend toward the will of poet and poem. . . . there’s much wisdom and contemplation to be carried away from this music.”
—Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz
Full Review

 

“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…”

—Dick Metcalf, editor, 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