In September 1972, the Elvin Jones Group recorded three sets of music at the famous Lighthouse Club in Hermosa Beach, California. This recording went on to become legendary and still referred to in iconic terms in the present era. Elvin, who made jazz history as a member of the Classic Quartet with John Coltrane began his role as a bandleader in the late 1960s with a succession of groups, most often using a saxophone(s) front line and no piano, which was still considered an unorthodox instrumentation at the time. With the hiring of bassist Gene Perla in 1971, followed by the saxophonists Dave Liebman and Steve Grossman, the group became an “item” on the jazz circuit for several reasons. Elvin was choosing the next generation of musicians to tour and record with while musically speaking, the language that Lieb and Grossman were exploring was at the time stylistically and later on historically categorized as the beginnings of the post Coltrane era, similar to what happened after Charlie Parker’s passing in 1955. These two young saxophonists (both of whom would also be part of the Miles Davis Group during this time) were distilling the innovations that Trane handed down for generations to absorb.
Decades later, the group “New Light” celebrates that era with Liebman and Perla as part of this legacy, augmented by drummer Adam Nussbaum (who descends directly from the Elvin Jones school of drumming) and Adam Niewood, a contemporary saxophonist completely in touch with the past, present and future of the music. The repertoire looks back and forward at the same time, but one thing is for sure. The energy of “New Light” is palpable and visceral, harking back to a time when bands played on a night to night basis, employing the same repertoire and personnel, with the attitude of “taking no prisoners!!” Experiencing “New Light” brings the listener back and forward at the same time.