NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman

by CT Konieczny

David Liebman is considered a renaissance man in contemporary music with a career stretching nearly fifty years. He has played with masters including Miles Davis, Elvin Jones, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, McCoy Tyner and others; authored books and instructional DVDs which are acknowledged as classics in the jazz field; recorded as a leader in styles ranging from classical to rock to free jazz; awarded NEA Jazz Masters (2011); Jazz Educators Network (JEN) Legends of Jazz; multiple Grammy nominee and Downbeat/Jazz Times Critics/JEN Poll winner (soprano sax); French Order of Arts and Letters; Honorary Doctorate, Sibelius Academy (Helsinki, Finland); Founder (1989) and Artistic Director of the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ); performed on over 500 recordings with over 200 as a leader/co-leader featuring several hundred original compositions.

“Liebman is among the most important saxophonists in contemporary music . .     a leader and artist of integrity and independent direction.” Downbeat Magazine

“While others of his ‘60s generation have fallen off their ambition, Liebman has remained dogged about composition and trying different styles…he’s a fighter.” Ben Ratliff-NY Times

Newest Release from Expansions: The Puzzle (Whaling City Sound)

EXPANSIONS by Pat Flaherty (L-R: Bobby Avey, Alex Ritz, Matt Vashlishan, Tony Marino, Dave Liebman)
EXPANSIONS by Pat Flaherty
(L-R: Bobby Avey, Alex Ritz, Matt Vashlishan, Tony Marino, Dave Liebman)

Understanding the concept of The Puzzle, Lieb’s second “new” group recording is simple: As he states: “Improvising is a matter of solving a puzzle.” Yes, of course it is. The difficulty lies in the execution and that’s when the fun begins. Continue reading. 

“…Liebman brings both sides of his brain together in order to bring both sides of his audience together—and it works.  Way out music that doesn’t leave half the audience looking at their watch?  That’s the real news here as a new jazz genre is born.  Tasty stuff from an acknowledged master, Liebman has crafted an unknockable recording.” Chris Spector, Midwest Record

“NEA Jazz Master saxophonist Dave Liebman has kept his music alive and generative for five decades with a prolific recording output, forming signature groups that push the musical envelope, and advancing new ideas within time-tested parameters. His current group, Expansions, allows him to interact with younger musicians, both as a mentor and as a way of exposing his creative impulses to new influences. On this, their second release, they take paradoxical, incomplete musical statements (instead of basic melodic lines) and see what they can do to live in the uncertainties or sometimes to resolve them. It’s an idea that goes back to J.S. Bach; it is a noble part of the jazz tradition, and it may be why the album is called The Puzzle.” Vic Schermer, All About Jazz

From Lieb About the Website

Sketch of Lieb with Soprano
From the Deer Head Inn, Delaware Water Gap, PA by owner Bob Mancuso

Hello to you all and welcome to my web site. Besides the usual publicity material, itineraries and available products which one normally encounters on artist web sites, over the years I have tried to make this site into a repository of information about jazz for those who are seriously interested in the art form. Specifically educational articles, private archive recordings, photos and interviews should be of particular interest. As a result of nearly fifty years of being a jazz artist, there is a lot of information here. Please check the itinerary (published monthly) and my facebook site for updates and miscellaneous writings I do from time to time. Feel free to contact me for any specific musical questions. Enjoy!!

Accolades

EDUCATION UPDATE DISTINGUISHED LEADER IN EDUCATION – 2016

JAZZ ED MAGAZINE READER’S POLL WINNER-SOPRANO SAXOPHONE – 2015

JAZZ EDUCATORS NETWORK LEGENDS OF JAZZ EDUCATION – 2013

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT OF THE ARTS JAZZ  MASTER – 2011

 DAVE LIEBMAN GROUP – BEST PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR – (NY JAZZ RECORD and ALL ABOUT JAZZ) – 2011

 WINNER OF DOWNBEAT CRITIC’S POLL SOPRANO SAX – 2011

JAZZ TIMES CRITIC’S POLLS FOR SOPRANO SAX – 2011/2012  

 FRENCH ORDER OF ARTS AND LETTERS – 2010

 GERMAN JAZZ JOURNALIST’S RECORD OF THE YEAR (“TURNAROUND”) – 2010

Sketch of Lieb on Soprano
From the Deer Head Inn, Delaware Water Gap, PA by owner Bob Mancuso

Describing The Jazz Moment by Dave Liebman “Le Roi Du Monde”

Sketch of Lieb on Tenor
From the Deer Head Inn, Delaware Water Gap, PA by owner Bob Mancuso

What does it feel like when you are in the vortex, the eye of the hurricane? To me it is aptly put by the French; you are (at least temporarily) “Le Roi Du Monde.”  For those moments when I (as a horn player) am playing in front of a good rhythm section, I am simply “the king of the world”–everything is perfect!! One is in complete control; you can do whatever you want within that space inhabited at the moment. You are truly the master of the universe…not the cliche.. the real deal! Getting to that place takes years of experience and observing those who are ahead of you on line. There is a confidence, an unseen swagger, an assertiveness (even if the music is gentle). It’s so good that all you want is to repeat it… like a junkie…hooked forever.

George Carlin, one of the all time great comedians and observers of the human condition in his autobiography (Last Words) describes the feeling I’m referring to:

“There is nothing happening in the universe outside of that reality and that experience. When besides that I’m being rewarded with all this approval, attention, approbation for something that is solely mine and only I can do. There can’t be anything better than that. To be intensely alone, intensely myself, in control of everything, the center of a self created universe.”

(For more on this subject go to the Education tab; Educational articles;Miscellaneous; “Concerning Entering The “Zone.”)

“SEEING THE LIGHT”

David Liebman proposal as a motivational speaker:

“I have a story to share with people that I call “Seeing The Light.” It begins with contracting polio as a child, which seemed to set the course of my future in one direction, only to be changed by a pivotal event that ultimately redirected my life’s work. It is a universal story for all people concerning how an extremely powerful and personal experience, once realized, can become a catalyst for change and direction in one’s life.”

Three as One

Liebman sonata for soprano sax and piano: “THREE AS 1” commissioned by the World Saxophone Congress, 2015; premiered in Strassbourg, France by Jean Charles Richard (soprano)/Eric Ferrand-N’Kaoua (piano)