Music Review – Liberty Ellman – ‘Last Desert’

Courtesy: Pi Recording

Released a week ago, it already set me in the mood of looping it to get the real vibe of the album. Liberty Ellman’s ‘Last Desert’ is definitely an oasis of sounds and it is very far from leaving a listener hungry, or rather thirsty, for experience of hearing something complex and unique. 

The album is orchestrally very well textured, it is polyphonic and thick. Each track has all the listed instruments included. What distinguishes the album is an overly present tuba and Jose Davila takes us on an interesting trip with its ribald and very fulfilling sound. 

‘Last Desert’ consists of 7 tracks. According to dramaturgy of material I personally would divide album in 4 parts, where each tells a different ‘story’: Track 1-3, track 4 and 5, track 6, track 7.

Ellman introduces listeners to the album smoothly with his mellow guitar in ‘The Sip’ bringing a promising beginning. It recalls a feel you have while there is an afternoon, spring rain dripping and you watch it trough the window of your cozy room. Ellman’s guitar will lead you in amazing, subtle improvisations trough the rest of material very flavorfully. In ‘Last Desert I’ it feels like trumpet part (Jonatan Finlayson) is really nicely synching with bass and drums. Very vital.

‘Last Desert II’ gets kind of melancholic and this is a great candidate to be taken advantage of becoming a part of movie soundtrack. There are two intriguing moments of drums (Damion Reid). They tend to be racing with the tubist at first. Then they give the tuba a way in order to be back after a while, leading all musicians as if they were ‘marching’ together towards the end.

‘Rubber Flowers’ is a dynamic and very rhythmic track transiting you to a very contrast, moody ‘Portals’ with vibes ranging from melancholy to licentious moods set by vigorous improvisations. 

‘Doppler’, to me, is just an ‘Ok track’. Album closes ‘Liquid’ with interestingly intertwining romance of trumpet and sax (Steve Lehman). With a well-sequenced dramaturgy of tracks this album is a vivid opener to NYC’s spring time to boost up good moods in a company of musicians who really should meet in the Brooklyn Recording Studio on a regular basis.

Rating: * * * *  

Released March 27, 2020

Record label: Pi Recordings

Playlist: 1.’The Sip’; 2.’Last Desert I’; 3.’Last Desert II’; 4.’Rubber Flowers’; 5.’Doppler’; 6.’Portals’; 7.’Liquid’


Liberty Ellman – guitar

Steve Lehman – alto saxophone

Jonathan Finlayson – trumpet

Jose Davila – tuba

Stephan Crump – bass

Damion Reid – drums

Rating legend:  

* * * * *  – masterpiece

* * * * – want to loop the playlist

* * * – good

* * – sporadically exciting

* – don’t rent the recording studio

3 thoughts on “Music Review – Liberty Ellman – ‘Last Desert’

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