Dave Liebman and the Moravian College Big Band (Allentown JazzFest 2017)
NEA JAZZ MASTER, saxophonist David Liebman was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 4, 1946. After contracting polio as a small child, he began classical piano lessons at the age of nine and clarinet/saxophone by twelve. His interest in jazz was sparked by seeing John Coltrane perform live in New York City clubs such as Birdland, Village Vanguard and the Half Note. Throughout high school and college, Liebman pursued his jazz interest by studying with saxophone guru Joe Allard (other Allard alumni are Eddie Daniels, Mike Brecker, Steve Grossman, Harry Carney) as well as jazz musicians Lennie Tristano and Charles Lloyd. Upon graduation from New York University (with a degree in American History), he began to seriously devote himself to the full time pursuit of being a jazz artist.
In 1977, Liebman did a world tour with pianist Chick Corea followed by the formation of the David Liebman Quintet with John Scofield as featured sideman. After several world tours and recordings by the quintet over three years, he reunited with Richard Beirach in both the duo format and Quest in 1981. Beginning with bassist George Mraz and drummer Al Foster, the group solidified with the addition of bassist Ron McClure and drummer Billy Hart. Through 1991 the group recorded seven CDs, toured extensively and did many workshops with students worldwide, garnering high critical praise worldwide. (The group has reunited for special tours and recordings since 2005.)
From 1991 through 2012, the Dave Liebman Group featuring guitarist Vic Juris toured and recorded nearly twenty CDs representing a very eclectic direction that ranged from jazz standards to Puccini arias, adaptations from the John Coltrane and Miles Davis repertoires, as well as original compositions in styles ranging from world music to fusion and free jazz, always maintaining a repertoire that balanced the past, present and future.
David has been featured on over five hundred recordings, of which he has been the leader or co-leader on nearly two hundred with several hundred original compositions written and recorded. His artistic output has ranged from straight ahead classic jazz to chamber music; from fusion to avant garde and world music. Other ongoing performing/recording combinations include the group Different But the Samefeaturing saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, drummer Jim Black and bassist Tony Marino; the “We3” trio with bassist/composer extraordinaire Steve Swallow and long time Lieb associate Adam Nussbaum on drums; duo work with both pianists Phil Markowitz and Marc Copland.
His newest group Expansions formed in 2013 features musicians from the new generation of jazz players living in New York; Bobby Avey on piano, Matt Vashlishan on reeds, Alex Ritz on drums along with the perennial Tony Marino on bass. The music of this group reflects current trends and styles being played by the new crop of jazz players.
Lieb’s published materials include a wide variety of books considered classics in the field as well as instructional DVDs and chamber music (Aebersold Publications, Caris Music and Advance Music): Self Portrait of A Jazz Artist, A Chromatic Approach to Jazz Harmony And Melody, Developing A Personal Saxophone Sound, several of which have been translated into multiple languages. Liebman’s biography is titled What It Is-The Life Of A Jazz Artist in conversation with author extraordinaire Lewis Porter (Scarecrow Press).
His teaching activities at universities and in clinic settings have taken him literally around the world as a result of his varied musical directions and expertise on several instruments, along with an ability to articulate the intricacies of the jazz language, aesthetic and technique. Over the years, he has regularly received grantees to study with him funded by the NEA (U.S.), the Canadian Arts Council, as well as arts councils of numerous European countries. In 1989 he founded the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ), an organization dedicated to networking educators and students from international jazz schools through periodic meetings, exchange programs and newsletters. Liebman presently serves as the Artistic Director of the IASJ and is Artist in Residence at the Manhattan School of Music, NYC; Guest Lecturer at the University of Toronto and the Global Jazz Project at the Berklee School in Boston. He has consistently placed among the top three finalists of the Downbeat Critics Poll since 1973 in the Soprano Saxophone category, gaining the top place several times in polls conducted by the magazines Jazz Ed and Jazz Times. Lieb is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from the Sibelius Academy (Helsinki, Finland); the Order of Arts and Letters (France); and the NEA Jazz Master award which is the highest accolade granted by the U.S. government in the jazz field (2011).
Cost: $20. To purchase tickets, please visit http://www.allentownjazzfest.org.
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