This is the 10th album for Denver native Oxman on the Capri label and for the occasion he joins forces with that most distinguished of modern saxophonists David Liebman. The combination of the two Coltrane admirers proves to be a potent mix producing some highly listenable and accessible music, often of a melodic nature.
Whether in tandem or in individual moments both men are quite capable of playing with intensity as on Cedar Walton’s “Afreaka”, where they trade eights at high tempo or Liebman’s “Glimpses”, described accurately in the accompanying press release as a “powerful double-barrelled saxophone tour de force”. Oxman’s “Trane’s Pal”, whose title might indicate a bit of a tear-up, carries a celebratory air rather than acting as an exercise for either man to show their allegiance to JC.
The ballad “Lenny”, another tune from the leader’s locker is beautifully interpreted by the tenor and soprano axis, eliciting some highly lyrical moments, also present on “I Sold My Heart to a Junkman”, a feature for Oxman.
Elsewhere, Liebman duets with pianist Jenkins on “In a Sentimental Mood”; the interaction between tenor and piano lifting the piece beyond “Do we really need another version?” status.
Oxman is an accomplished reedman who should probably have a higher profile than he has, given that his gifts displayed alongside those of master craftsman Liebman do not suffer by comparison.
(1) Shai; (2) Lenny; Trane’s Pal; (3) In a Sentimental Mood; (2) Afreaka; (1) Louminus; (4) I Sold My Heart to the Junkman; (1) Glimpses (54.47)
(1) Oxman, David Liebman (ts); Jeff Jenkins (p); Ken Walker (b); Todd Reid (d). Denver, Colorado, 1 November 2017.
(2) as (1) but Liebman (ss).
(3) as (1) but Liebman and Jenkins only.
(4) as (1) but omit Liebman.