[4 May 2011]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
One night, David Liebman and the rest of his trio decided to do a live set of Coltrane covers strictly for the hell of it. If you lived in a vacuum and had never heard of John Coltrane, Lieb Plays the Blues à la Trane would probably feel more revelatory. To Liebman’s credit, his choice of covers are not as obvious as, say, “Blue Train” or “My Favorite Things”. The closest he gets to that is “Mr. P.C.”, and the selection is bookended by two Trane-relevant tunes: Miles Davis’ “All Blues” and Duke Ellington’s “Take the Coltrane”. Also to Liebman’s credit are his honest and modest liner notes, which state, “There is nothing new contained herein but it does reflect the absorption of years of study of Trane’s music and a kind of homage to one particular aspect of his massive style”. In other words, he’s just playing the blues, man.