About the album
This is the Liam Noble Trio’s first recording, despite working together for many years, both as a rhythm section and an autonomous group. Liam has long been known for his highly original piano playing, his in depth knowledge of a number of the great jazz masters including Ellington and Bill Evans. But his longstanding admiration for Dave Brubeck is clearly demonstrable in this fascinating collection of some of Brubeck’s best known pieces. Dave Brubeck’s comments on the recording reveal Liam’s depth of understanding of this music providing new insights into its interpretation.
Ray Comiskey, The Irish Times
Noble, with his longstanding collaborators Dave Whitford (bass) and Dave Wickins (drums), is on no nostalgic exercise in this tour of material written by, or associated with, Dave Brubeck. The percussive piano, for instance, is less an echo of Brubeck’s attack than of Noble’s concern, among other things, to emphasise the instrument’s capacity for sound. He and his intuitively united trio have other ideas, at times stretching the material’s boundaries to bursting point and beyond. Some Brubeck fans may look askance at the risk-taking, but on the superbly resolved Sixth Sense, Autumn In Washington Square, the unfettered dialogue of Blue Rondo A La Turk , and the lush yet tart exoticism of La Paloma Azul, it’s arresting. And the brilliance, passion and wide-ranging sensibility Noble brings to bear on them remain rooted in a very contemporary perspective.
John Fordham, The Guardian
This reappraisal of Dave Brubeck's work is so good that the jazz legend himself declared it "an inspiration and a challenge for me to carry on in the avenues that you have opened". Brubeck was an early inspiration for UK pianist Liam Noble, and here Noble takes a dozen of his classics - including Take Five, It's a Raggy Waltz, and Blue Rondo à la Turk - and gives them drastic makeovers. However, he is unfailingly respectful of the original melodies, even if he sometimes leaves it until the track is nearly over before bringing them in. Noble is a supreme motivic improviser, in the manner of Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins and, latterly, Brad Mehldau - not only in the way he unearths fresh melodies on the fly but entwines them with earlier ideas in the solo and tell-tale echoes of the theme. He delivers a poignant and eventually audacious In Your Own Sweet Way; and introduces Take Five as a folksy doodle, barely related to the original, then turns it into a churning vamp, ending with the theme. On Blue Rondo, the stabbing chords, cymbal crashes and metallic treble sounds don't give way to the famous tune until the final moments. Bassist Dave Whitford and drummer Dave Wickins are key partners in what amounts to a tour de force. No wonder the octogenarian Brubeck thinks it might help him start all over again.