Aside from being a true master class in the art of piano trio driven free jazz and spontaneous improvisation, In Real Time, the debut album by the Carol Liebowitz led trio Blue Shift, is significant for other reasons. Though bassist Adam Lane and drummer Andrew Drury were fellow students at Wesleyan in the 80s, this dynamic and explosive, wildly creative and adventurous ensemble marks the first time that they’ve recorded together after decades of amassing insanely busy and diverse resumes elsewhere.
Blue Shift began to take shape after Liebowitz met Drury at a Brooklyn jam session in 2016. She immediately thought of Lane to complete the trio and they began performing together the following year – just before releasing her two critically acclaimed 2018 projects, Spiderwebmandala (with Bill Payne) and Malita- Malika with Birgitta Flick. The fact that, unlike on previous Liebowitz recordings, the trio is presented as a unit called Blue Shift (and not, say Liebowitz-Lane-Druary) speaks to the seamless conversational flow, powerful synergy, intuitive communication between the three and their dazzling ability to build majestic free-flowing mood swinging excitement purely from scratch.
Though by virtue of their free-form none of these five expansive tracks convey any single emotion or are about any one subject, each creates its own sonic universe. “Crosstown” is all about offbeat, rumbling, unbridled heavy chorded chaos. The eleven minute “Curve” starts out as a squeak-filled atonal chat between Lane’s bowed bass and Liebowitz’s high register runs before evolving into a spacious, richly atmospheric, even meditational aesthetic (before crashing into cacophony towards the end).
The set includes the haunting and edgy, ultimately rumbling with muscular momentum “Sequoia Moon,” chaos then calm on “Passcaglia” and finally, a bit of provocative seduction in the early going on the title track before the tune flies delightfully all over the rhythmic map.