Private Recordings

In this section I will feature some tapes of live gigs that are from my collection. For the most part they are meant for the hard core listener and are a good reflection of the way I like to deal when I am playing live.

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JAMMIN’ WITH DRUMMER EDDIE MOORE

JAMMIN’ WITH DRUMMER EDDIE MOORE

My relationship with pianist Richie Beirach is well documented on CDs and historically on the Mosaic label. Our story begins with playing in the New York loft scene followed by apprenticing with the masters…..Richie with Stan Getz and Chet Baker, myself with Elvin Jones and Miles Davis. By 1974 the group “Lookout Farm” began with Frank Tusa on bass, Jeff Williams on drums and for a while Badal Roy on tablas. By 1976 with the end of that band, Richie went with John Abercrombie’s Group while I formed the Ellis-Liebman Band in San Francisco followed by returning to New York and forming the Dave Liebman Quintet featuring John Scofield. With these other commitments, we still played together on occasion, most notably recording live at the Village Vanguard in 1978 on “Pendulum” with Tusa, Randy Brecker and drummer Al Foster. By the early ‘80s we formally put together the next group in our evolution (as always with the duo alongside) called “Quest” which by 1984 after a few personnel changes solidified with Ron McClure on bass and Billy Hart on drums. This rare recording (originally on cassette) captures a certain stage of our development made special by the inclusion of the great, late drummer Eddie Moore for this one time performance in 1982 at the Back Dynamite and Dancing Society in Half Moon Bay, California, a wonderful place to play on Sunday afternoons run by the incredible Pete Douglas. The sound quality is not good but the historical value is important concerning the musical evolution of Richie and me.

In small group jazz, the drums occupy a crucial position. From Jeff Williams as part of the first group “Lookout Farm” to “Quest” with at first Al Foster, followed by Billy Hart the drummer has had a major influence on our playing. Richie has never been shy about leading the rhythm section, something that any horn player will appreciate. His harmonic sense is famous among those in the know. (He is known as the Code.) On this recording it is his ability to get the drums and bass acting as a unit supporting what I am playing. In the best of small group musical worlds supporting a horn means complimentary phrasing, filling in spaces, rhythmic support and of course harmonic intent. All of these responsibilities are spread out between the pianist, bassist and drummer. But in the final analysis, it is the drums that provide the power, inspiration and excitement….all intangibles but all mandatory for a powerful musical experience. Jeff Williams played very much in the Jack DeJonette mold creating cross rhythms often independent of the specifics of what Richie might play rhythmically. Al Foster was the perfect accompanist for Richie because his big ears meant that whatever Richie played rhythmically was accounted for by Al, as if the two were thinking alike. Billy Hart emphasizes both ways of playing, being quite independent but also ready to jump into the middle of the fray unexpectedly. As well, Jabali is a supreme colorist using the sound of his cymbals and drums to enhance the story line.

What is interesting about this tape from this standpoint is how Eddie Moore, a great drummer who lived on the West Coast at the time negotiates the rhythmic space with Richie on this one time gig. Eddie provides great time and consistent energy allowing Richie to put a lot of his attention on what I am playing. This wonderful “carpet” lets me and Richie really hook up in a variety of ways, rhythmically and harmonically. Playing a repertoire that we were very familiar with and could easily be shown to a newcomer while having Frank on bass who of course was with us in “Lookout Farm” meant that we could just go in and burn without any discussion. Eddie Moore was the real deal having played with everyone, therefore highly experienced, easy to be with and ready to rock. Listeners who enjoy the work of Richie and me will I am sure find this music of historical interest as well as enjoyable to hear. We take no prisoners on this recording.My relationship with pianist Richie Beirach is well documented on CDs and historically on the Mosaic label. Our story begins with playing in the New York loft scene followed by apprenticing with the masters…..Richie with Stan Getz and Chet Baker, myself with Elvin Jones and Miles Davis. By 1974 the group “Lookout Farm” began with Frank Tusa on bass, Jeff Williams on drums and for awhile Badal Roy on tablas. By 1976 with the end of that band, Richie went with John Abercrombie’s Group while I formed the Ellis-Liebman Band in San Francisco followed by returning to New York and forming the Dave Liebman Quintet featuring John Scofield. With these other commitments, we still played together on occasion, most notably recording live at the Village Vanguard in 1978 on “Pendulum” with Tusa, Randy Brecker and drummer Al Foster. By the early ‘80s we formally put together the next group in our evolution (as always with the duo alongside) called “Quest” which by 1984 after a few personnel changes solidified with Ron McClure on bass and Billy Hart on drums. This rare recording (originally on cassette) captures a certain stage of our development made special by the inclusion of the great, late drummer Eddie Moore for this one time performance in 1982 at the Back Dynamite and Dancing Society in Half Moon Bay, California, a wonderful place to play on Sunday afternoons run by the incredible Pete Douglas. The sound quality is not good but the historical value is important concerning the musical evolution of Richie and me.

“Pablo’s Story”

“Green Dolphin Street”

“Forgotten Fantasy”

“Nardis”

“Elm”

“Softly”

Lonely Woman

This atmospheric performance from 1983 of Ornette’s “Lonely Woman” is on alto flute which I played on and off over the years till I let it go along with the tenor in 1985 for 15 years to concentrate on soprano sax only. This horn is a challenge, especially to go in the higher register, but I enjoyed it a lot. The rhythm section was one I worked with quite often in the ‘80s in New Orleans, and for awhile I seriously contemplated moving there. On drums is John Vidakovich; on bass is Jim Singleton; on guitar (using his invention the Keetar) is Steve Masakowski.

“Dickies Dream”

Preparing with Lee Konitz to record, he handed me the Lester Young solo from “Dickie’s Dream,” one of the landmark tracks from Prez’ early recordings with Count Basie. On the record date for fun, Richie (Beirach) and me recorded the solo and played on it. This harkens back to my lessons wtih Lennie Tristano when I was 17 when I had to sing along with Lester-full circle.

Sax Quartet playing “A Moody Time”

This is one of my saxophone quartets, in fact this has been played a lot over the years. Beginning as a piano piece, this comes from a particular personal period of my life which is obvious from the title. I think what musicians like most about this piece is the ending 15/8 vamp which is a lot of fun to play on as I am doing here. These are some of the saxophonists from the WDR in Koln , Germany where I did many wonderful performances in the 90s.