Jean-Marie Machado & Dave Liebman - Eternal Moments
(BEEJAZZ BEE 044, CD Review by Chris Parker)
Just the musical company he keeps (he plays in a duo with Andy Sheppard, and has collaborated with Paolo Fresu, Martial Solal and Paul Motian) is a reliable guide: Tangiers-born pianist Jean-Marie Machado is a class act, and on this album he has not only composed wonderfully lyrical but robust and powerful themes for himself and saxophonist Dave Liebman to play, but also interpreted them with marked grace, elegance and subtlety.
Their first album together, Caminando (2008), dealt with the fado tradition, but this one spreads its net wider, taking in Ravel ('Le Reveil de la Mariée') and Monk ('Ugly Beauty') as well as a variety of jazz-based material by both men, and they interweave, trade phrases and build together in intensity as required throughout this absorbing and varied programme.
Liebman is justly celebrated for the strength and sureness of his soprano playing, in particular, and that instrument is deployed to great effect here, but Machado is by no means outshone by the American's virtuosity, producing delicacy, lyricism, joyousness and occasional deeper, darker emotions to complement his partner's playing with an ease and assurance that render this album consistently compelling.