Medlemspris SEK 149:- (ord pris 179:-)
I’d love to know what was going through Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen’s head when he decided to call up guitarist John Scofield and saxophonist Dave Liebman for his date Dancing On The Tables, with drummer Billy Hart rounding out the group. After all, there’s nothing particularly subversive about Pedersen’s tunes. In fact, the title tune is sort of goofy and childlike. Why then did he choose two musicians who he had to know were in love with dissonance and advanced harmonic concepts in general? Who knows, but I for one am grateful for his off-beat choices for band mates. Can you imagine how deadly a tune like Dancing On The Tables would be if you played it straight? Instead, on his solo, Scofield plays outside incessantly, occasionally dropping hints of the harmonic structure in, and remember, while he’s soloing, there’s no harmonic instrument. Fortunately, Scofield is a master of this sort of playing, and Pedersen provides enough harmonic clues on the standup bass that we aren’t completely lost. When Scofield is comping for Liebman, things don’t get much simpler. Scofield almost never choose chords which outline the harmony directly. Again, Liebman tends to play outside. What’s more, Dancing On The Tables is a long tune, over fourteen minutes. So what you get is fourteen minutes of some of the best improvising you’ll ever hear, capped with a mercifully short minute or so of the silly head.
Future Child is a pleasant but ultimately disposal solo bass feature from Pedersen. Fortunately, it’s only a little over a minute long. Next up is another bass feature for Pedersen, an interpretation of a Danish folk song, Jeg Gik Mig Ud en Sommerdag. On this one, Scofield fingerpicks background chords on an electric guitar through a flanger, while Liebman plays pretty accompanying lines on flute. Again, it’s all pretty enough, but fairly inconsequential. The next tune, Evening Song, finds Pedersen playing the somewhat clumsy, optimistic melody on upright bass while Scofield fingerpicks accompanying chords through a flanger again. But never mind. The real story here is the improvisation. Pederson gets some great bebop licks in. It’s fun to hear him maneuver around the pedestrian composition he has constructed. A great jazz composer he is not. Scofield and Liebman don’t disappoint either over the nine and half minutes of the track. Scofield struggles to be hip over the wanky chord changes, at one point coming up with a line that never fails to make me laugh. Another lengthy Pedersen tune, Clouds, finishes off the session. Finally, Pedersen manages a pretty decent tune. Like the others, it reflects his apparently optimistic nature. The changes are unique and encourage melodic improvisation. Pedersen, Liebman, and Scofield all are allowed time to stretch out, contributing kickass solos. Scofield does some very interesting chordal soloing — his choices are always unexpected and tasteful. At the end of the track, Scofield, Liebman, and Pedersen all solo simultaneously without getting in one another’s way. It’s a thing of beauty. So, for the average listener, I’d highly recommend Dancing On The Tables. It’s a pleasant listen and if you actually pay attention, you’ll be rewarded with an extremely high quality level of improvisation from all three soloists, plus some very creative comping from Scofield. On the other hand, if you are a fan of Scofield, Liebman, or Pedersen, Dancing On The Tables is an absolutely essential purchase.