Dancing On The Edge is a striking live performance that showcases the boundless artistic possibilities when five distinctive musical voices come together as one.
Dancing On The Edge was recorded at the world-famous Deer Head Inn one evening in mid-November, 2013. Michael Stephans is not only a renowned drummer with an impressive four-decade career under his belt but he is also a renowned poet and author. It was the publication of his book Experiencing Jazz: A Listener’s Companion which brought about this performance. Published the year of recording by Scarecrow Press, Experiencing Jazz… is an expansive survey on the art of listening to and enjoying jazz. Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano contributed prominently to the volume (Liebman even contributed the Preface), and so the two musical compatriots joined Stephans for the launch party and celebratory performance.
The Kaleidoscope Quintet performed a varied set that night. For this recording, five cuts have been selected: “Blackwell’s Message” and “Topsy Turvy” by Joe Lovano, “Day and Night” and “Get Me Back To The Apple” by Liebman and a lively rendition of the beloved standard “There Is No Greater Love”. Silvano lends her expressive and singular vocal stylings to the two Lovano-penned compositions, showing off her acrobatic chops as her voice literally dances through the changes, almost like a third horn. Liebman and Lovano’s dueling horns – another musical dance that the two saxophone titans have been participating in together for decades – most notably in their co-lead endeavor Saxophone Summit – shine throughout the set. Bass veteran Tony Marino and colorful drummer Stephans are the anchored and steadfast rhythm section.
Dancing On The Edge displays the seemingly limitless artistic possibilities that can occur on the bandstand and the affecting power of live music – something that is so sorely missed in this post COVID-19 world. Stephans sums it up well in his liner notes: “…at our best, we are what jazz writer Whitney Balliett called “the sound of surprise,” where the level of intuitive interaction is so high that we keep our listeners and ourselves engaged and alert to new melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic possibilities.” A rich and musically diverse offering, Dancing On The Edge is truly a treat for the ears.
Judi Silvano’s original painting, commissioned specially for this project, graces the cover.