Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach fire-up new Eastside Jazz Club

The opening night of Birmingham's new Eastside Jazz Club featured a strong selection, in the form of a duo between saxophonist Dave Liebman and pianist Richie Beirach. These two are old playing colleagues in the Quest combo, who debuted way back in 1981. For this gig, though, Liebman and Beirach remained firmly in purist acoustic mode.

Eastside is, unusually, a jazz club within a university campus, something which might be a good move, although supposedly not risking the possibility of enhanced seediness sometimes found in such environments down the decades. Instead, there's the supportive backdrop of Birmingham Conservatoire, with an indigenous pool of players, as well as a close-proximity audience base. Drinking is encouraged, and food is available, although folks need to catch on to the fact that this can be whisked in from the reception area's café bar. There's even a specially-brewed Conservatoire cask ale, which should be pleasing to certain factions within the jazz scene. The stage is floor level in the long space, with different tiers of seating reaching right back to standing tables at the rear. There's also a long row of tall chairs along the right-hand side, overlooking the stage area. The sound quality is high, hitting just the right volume level for this space.

Liebman-Beirach-EJC-5

The advertised duo of Liebman and Beirach played a set, but there was also the bonus surprise of an additional second half, where they were joined by bassist Mark Hodgson and drummer Jeff Williams. The latter is an old sparring partner of Liebman's, their association stretching back over four decades ago to the mid-1970s ECM albums Lookout Farm and Drum Ode. Liebman was, of course, initially renowned for his time with Miles Davis, in the early 1970s. Amusingly, his chief mentioning of the trumpeter during this evening was to dismiss his involvement in penning tunes that many folks feel should arguably be attributed to pianist Bill Evans: 'Nardis' and 'Blue In Green'. Although, close to the night's climax, the quartet did play 'All Blues'!

The duo set concentrated on a mostly introspective mood, savouring the intimate dialogue between saxophonist and pianist. The first piece was an arrangement of a Bartók bagatelle by the pianist, whose theatrical flourishes at the Yamaha grand were well in keeping with such a classicist root. Beirach repeatedly curtailed his resonant gestures with a sharp pedal cut-off, as if he wanted to enjoy several worlds simultaneously. Liebman played soprano on 'Tender Mercies', his phrases ringing around the piano's interior, before Beirach commenced. Their reading of ''Round Midnight' emerged into a rolling elaboration, with a husky tenor closure. Beirach's 'Testament' followed, and the first set's only foray into fierceness acted as a nod to the coming quartet expansion of the second half. This was Wayne Shorter's 'Paraphernalia'(from Miles In The Sky, 1968), taken at a fast clip, scampering like a bull, so to speak!

The quartet set operated on a much more aggressive plane, particularly when the Liebman-Williams union was struck up, repeatedly involving vigorous exchanging of phrases. The saxophonist chose lively soprano for 'Nardis', with the following 'Blue in Green' beginning as a pensive piano trio. As the set began to build, its most exciting numbers were yet to come: John Coltrane's 'India', with its ascending and articulate soprano flood, Williams getting inside a heavy drum whirlwind, and then 'All Blues' topped the night, Liebman and Williams reaching their apex, magnetising with an explosive tenor-drum duel, Beirach yelling out his encouragement.

– Martin Longley

– Photos by Nick Brown

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Abdullah Ibrahim, Gregory Porter, Yazz A…

The full line-up has been announced for Cheltenham Jazz Festival...

Read More.....

Irreversible Entanglements + Matana Robe…

  Matana Roberts (above) is so relaxed tonight her short opening set...

Read More.....

Jazz FM Awards nominations celebrate gia…

The names for the 2019 Jazz FM Awards were revealed...

Read More.....

Patchwork Jazz Orchestra premiere ‘Badge…

The London-based 17-piece Patchwork Jazz Orchestra are set to release...

Read More.....

NJYO, JCM, friends and family pay tribut…

As Jon Hiseman would say: “If you are going to...

Read More.....

Sons of Kemet, Moses Boyd, Nubya Garcia …

The programme has been announced the inaugural We Out Here...

Read More.....

NCO hit bullseye with CTI at Ronnie Scot…

Tomorrow’s Warriors’ role as a springboard for emerging talent in...

Read More.....

Countdown To Ecstasy: Royal Academy Big …

  There are some people, who I've never understood, who smirk...

Read More.....

Melt Yourself Down, Laura Mvula and Kama…

The second edition of Love Supreme at the Roundhouse takes...

Read More.....

Michel Legrand 24/02/1932 – 26/01/2019

The prolific French film composer and pianist Michel Legrand was...

Read More.....

Hamasyan In Inspired Orchestral Manoeuvr…

The Brussels Jazz Festival is a relative newcomer, but this...

Read More.....

Zara McFarlane and Soweto Kinch turn up …

The night goes on and they keep on coming, a...

Read More.....

Jazz meets theatrical protest with The A…

Few styles of music can claim to have come as...

Read More.....

Snarky Puppy return with new album Immig…

Grammy-winning groove crew Snarky Puppy return with a new studio...

Read More.....

Blue Note spearheads 80th Anniversary Ye…

The iconic Blue Note label will celebrate its milestone 80th...

Read More.....

John Turville dives in Head First – new …

Pianist and composer John Turville returns with a new album...

Read More.....

Uri Caine and Henri Texier dazzle while …

Jazzfestival Münster is celebrating its 40th anniversary, but has only...

Read More.....

Ezra Collective bring the Brit-Jazz Nois…

Much like in other recent editions of New York's Winter...

Read More.....

Yazz Ahmed and Jasper Høiby line-up for …

For some there is a Holy Grail in jazz: to...

Read More.....

Matthew Herbert marks Brexit with Big Ba…

Composer, conductor and sampling-supremo Matthew Herbert is set to release...

Read More.....

Joseph Jarman 14/09/37 – 9/01/19

  The recitation of 'Non-Cognitive Aspects Of The City' by Dante...

Read More.....

Wandering Monster step up with 'Samsara…

Bass-led progressive jazz group Wandering Monster are set to release...

Read More.....

Cécile McLorin Salvant, Oded Tzur Quarte…

  The unfeasibly warm November weather was matched by the heat...

Read More.....

Edinburgh embraces the Thrill of Belgian…

Belgium may be better known for its beer than its...

Read More.....

Mitchener And Yarde Break Blues Boundari…

The blues is a lived and living truth, as much...

Read More.....

Ra's Arkestra Announces Annual Lewes Aff…

The Sun Ra Arkestra – led by that indomitable intergalactic...

Read More.....

Steve Williamson, Silje Nergaard and Tin…

Southampton’s Turner Sims music venue has announced an impressive line-up...

Read More.....

19-year-old vibraphonist Sasha Berliner …

19-year-old vibraphonist Sasha Berliner wins LetterOne Rising Stars Award California-based...

Read More.....

Nordic Wonders: Rune Grammofon Bring The…

Determined individuals who ignore categories define the Norwegian scene, in...

Read More.....

Mehldau Marvels At Jazztopad

  The entire spectrum can dazzle at Jazztopad, a Polish festival in...

Read More.....

Jazz FM Awards return for 2019

The Jazz FM Awards return for a sixth time next...

Read More.....

Chick Corea, Madeleine Peyroux and Kamaa…

The organisers of the Love Supreme Jazz Festival, which runs...

Read More.....

Peter Boizot 1929 – 2018

The press obituaries for Peter Boizot, who has died aged...

Read More.....

David Mossman – 17 July 1942 - 8 Decembe…

Ahead of starting the Vortex in 1988, there is nothing...

Read More.....

Greg Fox and Pulverize The Sound punish …

  The second phase of Poland’s Jazz Jantar festival involved five nights...

Read More.....

Astral Progression Ensemble and Irrevers…

  Jazz Jantar has been running in the northern Polish port...

Read More.....

Making The Cut Mpu 300x500px

Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

Jazzwise proudly presents a selection of tracks from some of the top-rated albums in our February issue, which is a… https://t.co/vbDjLzwfim
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@christopherhope Don't be petty, be smart or witty. Try harder.
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA