David Liebman is a man who needs no introduction to virtually anyone in the saxophone world. But for those of you who need to be introduced, in my estimation, a bona-fide living legend, and an important voice in many seminal moments in the history of jazz. Going back, there is his work on the classic album by Elvin Jones, Live at the Lighthouse along with Miles Davis’ fusion masterpiece, On the Corner.
As his career developed, Liebman played a major role in developing the “post-Coltrane” approach to jazz saxophone, along with his contemporaries such as Michael Brecker, Bob Mintzer, George Garzone and a few other highly-influential sax players whose passionate playing style featured technical virtuosity coupled with a highly-advanced harmonic approach.
Since those early days, he’s gone on to play with just about everyone under the son, touring with his own groups and as a band member, and making over 500 recordings, with nearly 300 as leader or co-leader. And then there was the N.E.A. Jazz Masters Award he was honored with, not to mention the major contributions he’s made to the music as a leading educator. Anyhow, I can go on and on, but that’s not the point here.
This is the first of what I hope will be a multi-part series of audio-recorded conversations I get to have with Dave where he answers question from readers. I posted to the Best. Saxophone. Website. Ever Facebook page asking for questions and got quite a few. The good news is that the questions were very thought-provoking – which is also the bad news, because it made it difficult to get through them without going into a bit of depth – which is also the good news…
Anyhow, I’ll just cut to the chase and give you the questions with a corresponding time marker on the audio for your reference.
Questions from the Readers:
- “How do I ‘play and feel’ odd note groupings of 5, 7, or 9? That’s my biggest ‘failure’ – getting to naturally feel, hear, and play those odd groupings…” – Pat Carmody
ANSWER AT 1:30
- “I would be very interested in his concepts of uptempo phrasing and of course how to practice it.” – Tim Rodig
ANSWER AT 7:40
- “In the late 70’s I saw Dave Liebman in Australia with Chick Corea, his band with John Scofield and Terumasa Hino and in duo with Richie Beirach. He also released Opal Heart with Mike Nock and I would love to hear his thought on this period and whether he maintains any relationships with Australia and/or Australian musicians.” – James Kinnaird
ANSWER AT 15:05
- “At this point in his career, does he have a warmup routine or any other concepts that he’s getting into?” – Tom Wise
ANSWER AT 18:40
- “At this point in his career, when he can do just about anything musically, how does he choose which projects to work on?” – Paul Hrycaj
ANSWER AT 20:54
- “Name some of your favorite albums, any genre.” – Jeffrey Campbell
ANSWER AT 23:17
If you saw all the questions posted on Facebook, clearly, there were a ton of questions that didn’t get answered this time, but the plan is to do more of these and get as many of your questions answered as possible. Thanks to everyone who contributed, and I hope we get to everyone’s at some point in the near future!
Otherwise, with no further ado, here’s our Q & A session: