“THREE AS 1” (for piano and soprano saxophone) was commissioned by Sax Open (World Saxophone Congress).
Premiered July 9th, 2015 at Le Cite de la Musique, Strasbourg, France.
The title refers to the three movements that comprise the form of the piece. The first movement involves twelve tone considerations; movement two is based on improvised piano sketches, while the final movement involves vamps and improvisational aspects dealing with intervalic constructs.
Concerning the improvisation in movement three, I have included in this text some possible chord voicings and intervallic-based lines for the performers to use as a basis for improvising. For further muscial references concerning these matters, consult my book on the use of chromaticism in a jazz context titled: “A Chromatic Approach To Jazz Harmony and Melody” (Advance/Schott Music, Mainz, Germany).
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)
“TRAJECTORY” (for Saxophone Quartet) was commissioned and recorded by the PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Inc. with support from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage; recorded on Heritage/Evolution by the Prism Saxophone Quartet, Innova (label) 2014
Contemporary jazz and classical saxophonists are more than ever attempting to fuse aspects of each idiom together. One elemental aspect of jazz is the unwritten rule not to repeat anything the same way twice (or more) in a row. Obviously I’m exaggerating, but the attempt in this piece is to find a balance between the proscribed written notes and other musical aspects meant to encourage multiple and instant variation, so that the performers can change certain elements of the so-called text as they see fit.
The four saxophones are given three notes each comprising a twelve tone row. Throughout the piece there are sections where the rhythms and expressive devices are left up to the moment for each saxophonist to vary as they like, sometimes limited to the original pitches, sometimes not. The same goes for the rhythms…there are places where rhythmical variation is left up to each player, but also there are sections where a rhythmic contour is written, but then the pitches can be varied. This is most evident in the section named “VAMP.” Sprinkled through the piece are sections of duos and trios with contrapuntal as well as chorale implications meant to offset the ongoing rhythmic and pitch choice tensions.
Caris Visentin Liebman’s arrangement of Dave Liebman’s seminal solo soprano saxophone recording from the 1980s, considered to be a classic in the field. This arrangement features improvisation and intense composition, with a perfromacnce length of approx 45 minutes.