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Carol Liebowitz & Bill Payne | Spiderwebmandala

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Carol Liebowitz Bill Payne Mark Weber Line Art Records

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United States - New York

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Jazz: Modern Free Jazz Avant Garde: Free Improvisation Moods: Type: Improvisational
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by Carol Liebowitz & Bill Payne

Piano/Clarinet improvisations from a live concert at Outpost Performance Space in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Two tracks feature poet Mark Weber. All music is spontaneously improvised.
Genre: Jazz: Modern Free Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Deep Sky (Live)
Carol Liebowitz & Bill Payne
5:07 album only
2. Spiderweb Mandala Flower Explosion Poem: Drishti (Live) [feat. Mark Weber]
Carol Liebowitz & Bill Payne
4:39 album only
3. Desert Dance (Live)
Carol Liebowitz & Bill Payne
3:56 album only
4. Secrets (Live)
Carol Liebowitz & Bill Payne
4:43 album only
5. Tempest (Live)
Carol Liebowitz & Bill Payne
2:40 album only
6. Mixtures of Aroma in the Smoke (Live) [feat. Mark Weber]
Carol Liebowitz & Bill Payne
4:23 album only
7. Notes on a Dream (Live)
Carol Liebowitz & Bill Payne
7:03 album only
8. Hidden Canyon (Live)
Carol Liebowitz & Bill Payne
5:39 album only
9. Vanishing Point (Live)
Carol Liebowitz & Bill Payne
4:43 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
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, thevinyldistrict.com

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! . . . will spirit you (quickly) into the exciting ether of existence. . . . 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. . . .MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
—Dick Metcalf, ContemporaryFusionReviews

Liner notes by Marc Medwin:
The music of Carol Liebowitz and Bill Payne inhabits a complex universe of tangential associations. Continuously eschewing cliché, these delicious and delicate miniatures bespeak diverse traditions, beholden to none.

What a joy it is to hear the confluence of note and word, wire and wind, vocalization and percussion, even more so when the three artists become one! It’s no wonder that one of these conjoinings of metal, melodicized air and Mark Weber’s voice, exuding equal parts experience and gravel, gave the disc its title, rhapsodizing the departures and ever-altered macro and microcosmic returnings, dotted, looped, paused, sampled and held. The title track teems with poignant spiral-mandala spark and diminuendo for ten seconds (2:14–2:24) as Payne reaches for the heights of phrase, remapping his descent’s topography with each iteration. The synchronicity is miraculous as Liebowitz explores a rippling arpeggiated figuration just beneath, adorning it only to sweep it aside for more distant relations. True to the feeling Weber’s lines encapsulate moments earlier, each gesture is a non-acceptance of the one before, a feeling released as thought and glorious spontaneity.

This music breathes freedom, but it’s easy to forget freedom’s preparation, the hours of work, of absorption, filled with the deep joy of breakthrough. Carol Liebowitz, Bill Payne and Mark Weber have traveled circuitous paths toward consciousness’s crystal center as represented by tone, time and gesture. Loving classical music, Liebowitz eventually walked away from its performance and toward the liberation offered by improvisation. Still, her minor opening of “Tempest,” tensioned and rife with anticipation, may be a nod to Beethoven’s similarly nicknamed sonata filtered through the bitonal lens of Charles Ives. “When you’re improvising, new worlds can open up.” Her voice brims with the energy of her musicmaking, and if that world’s soundscapes conjure shades of past experience, they are filtered through the tonal complexities of a present rich with her diverse musical relationships, cultivated between continents and across genres. “I just love playing with Bill! No matter what I want to do, he’s right there!” Just listen to the neo-Webernian pointillisms infiltrating the transient peaks and silent crags of “Secrets,” listen to the way reaction breeds counterpoint in phrase-groups of two and three elements. “I’ve actually been listening to quite a lot of Webern lately,” enthuses Payne. “I love the way it opens my ears!” It should be no surprise; he listens to everything, discussing, with the relish of continuous discovery, the intricacies of exhortations from Ellington and Armstrong to ceremonial musics from around the globe. “Mixtures of aroma in the smoke,” intones Weber, and it would be difficult to imagine a more beautiful or subtle aroma than Payne’s intensely delicate interjections as, like Dolphy before him, he explores the dynamic levels and overtones of a single pitch, repeating, minutely altering, as naturally and fluently as breathing in the wistful jasmine-scented comfort Liebowitz’s pianissimo harmony affords, ornamenting the rich sonorities with gracefully questioning ascent, as the poet delineates, “free, and ever reinventing itself.”

Weber’s descriptive phrase is fit model as the music evolves. No two-dimensional verbiage can encapsulate the Proustian waves of major and minor juxtaposition at the heart of “Hidden Canyon,” ascending and descending in slowly freezing and melting geometric formations and regroupings. Mere descriptors and modifiers might just begin to penetrate to the essence of a f lower explosion or a desert dance, to the gnarled root of tonal complexes so vast that it’s difficult to believe that only twelve notes birthed them. Each listening reveals new angles of these tone sculptures, mandala moments connecting fore to next before disappearing into silence, the place from which all music and poetry comes and to which it will return, anticipating the curtain-call moment when the poet buries his pencil in the garden and rides off into the sunset. —Marc Medwin



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