Liebman/Lovano: Compassion: Music of John Coltrane review – a powerful tribute
by John Fordham, The Guardian
Ten years ago, for the 40th anniversary of the inspirational saxophonist John Coltrane’s death, the BBC’s Jazz on 3 commissioned a tribute from sax virtuosi Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano, embracing the hard-bop Coltrane of the late 1950s as well as the anthemic free-jazz master he became. Resonance has put those tapes out for this 50th-anniversary year. Liebman had to assemble a hastily modified version of his Saxophone Summit band (Phil Markowitz is on piano, the wonderful Billy Hart on drums), but the collective passion is palpable, as is the jam-session uninhibitedness. Liebman and Lovano rip through Coltrane’s boppish Locomotion as a two-tenor tussle; Lovano’s rugged tenor and Liebman’s ethereal soprano sharply contrast on a segue of Central Park West and the rapturous Dear Lord; Coltrane’s world musicianship is evoked by the Spanish theme of Olé; there’s an Amazing Grace mood to Reverend King, and a prayerlike ecstasy to the freeform title track. The full breadth of the shortlived Coltrane’s legacy is rarely celebrated so authoritatively and completely.