“When students attend David Liebman’s Saxophone Workshop
each summer, they come seeking everything that he offers. His knowledge is
immense, as is his experience as a player in the fraternity of the highest
order. Music is the breath of his life…. in fact, breathing is a big subject.
Dave examines how the lips, lung and the tongue all create different tonalities,
Tones are the colors of inflections, the subplot of the tune; they give density
and suggest mystery. Dave is a street talking Zen-master.” - Larry Fink
Saxophone Masterclass Description
Since 1987 David Liebman has been conducting an annual Saxophone Master Class held at East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA (one and a half hours west of New York City). Students who are accepted (all ages) spend one week with Lieb delving into his philosophy of tone production discussed in his book and DVD on the subject. Other topics covered include transcription, rhythmic concepts, chromaticism as well as selected private videos and recordings shown during the week of master performances by Coltrane, Miles Davis, the Saxophone Summit and more. Students get the opportunity to be critiqued on their compositions by an all star rhythm section which includes pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Tony Marino and drummer Marko Marcinko, topped off by a performance at the famous Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA.
Chromatic Harmony Masterclass Description
the past few years, Lieb has been offering instead of the saxophone class, a
week spent entirely on his concepts as described in "A Chromatic Approach to
Jazz Harmony and Melody"(Advance Music) and taught for the Master's Degree at
the Manhattan School of Music. This class is open to all instruments and focuses
on composition as well as how to utilize chromaticism in one's playing. Refer to
the blurb below for which class will be next and the required recording to send
for application. The usual period is the end of July/beginning of August with
exact dates posted a few months before the summer period.
The 2009 Chromatic Harmony Masterclass
The 2009 class rehearsal
About the Masterclass
From the Pocono Record - Friday, August 1, 1997
THEY LEARN FROM THE MASTER
The musicians are coming to David Liebman nowadays, instead of him going to them.
Liebman, a saxophonist and former member of Miles Davis' band, is teaching a saxophone master class at East Stroudsburg University. Well known in Europe and Japan, Liebman has traveled all over the world and used to teach all his classes abroad. He still travels about three months a year to spread his jazz wisdom. But this week, the sounds of the saxophone, some laughter and a lot of jazz intuition can be heard coming from the band room in ESU's Fine Arts center. "I thought it might be nice to go home for lunch for a change," said Liebman. This is the 10th year he has taught this class at ESU. Liebman moved to Stroudsburg from Brooklyn in 1987. "New York City is the center of jazz," Liebman said. He adds that the Pocono region is one of the few areas outside of the city where jazz is readily accepted and popular. In 1969, Liebman came to Mount Airy Lodge near Mount Pocono for a jam session. "For all I knew, the Poconos could have been Nebraska," he said. "America in general is not a great home for jazz," Liebman said. "Jazz has outgrown America. There's more energy and motivation coming from elsewhere. "There isn't a level of sophistication outside of the big cities to support jazz. But New York exerts its influence here." A good indication of jazz's international flavor is evident in Liebman's class. About half of the class is from outside the U.S. Liebman has musicians in his class from Italy, Holland, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Japan and Canada, as well as members of the U.S. Air Force and Navy bands. "This is an international event," Liebman said. He is the founder and director of the International Association of Schools of Jazz. "This class is becoming a IASJ event," he said. "(Liebman) is a great master," said Rodrigo Santos of Brazil. "I've known him through his books and seeing him at a clinic at Berkeley. To be here, it's a great experience. " Greg Dudzienski of Virginia said, "I'm thrilled. I've been following David's work since I started playing 15 years ago." Santos and Dudzienski said they were, "Hungry to receive." "Everyone here has something to offer," Dudziensky added. Ages in this year's class range from 16 to 38, but Liebman has taught people up to 60 years old. All the musicians in the class send Liebman a tape proving their quality to get accepted.
I wanted to thank you and your family for such an amazing week of music and the sharing of relationships and experiences. It was inspiring for me just to witness and feel the energy you put into your life. When you entered a room and especially when you spoke, either verbally or musically, your spiritual presence was felt. You are what I aspire to be. I am sure that you are having to recover now from the past several days. You never gave up, and you were with us until the end. Thank you. Your masterclass was amazing for me not only from the time I spent experiencing your ideas and lifelong pursuits, but from the friendships I acquired that I know will last a lifetime. I hope to see you again in the near future, and I wish you luck in all your upcoming adventures and your future endeavors. Music is life, so live on! Once again, thank you!!
Thanks for all that kindness….
Thanks for all that great moments you’ve spent with us…
Thanks for all that frankness…
Thank you for all that energy.
I’ve spent a wonderful week beside you and all the persons (Pat, Caris, Bryant, Tony, Marko, Phil, and all the saxophonists & Marcel!) I’ll remember it a long time.
"I just wanted to thank You for the
great masterclass! Ive got so much inspiration by seeing and feeling your
energie in music, art and live. This are the things you never get from books!
Some of the things we were speaking of, will certainly change my way of taking
desicions in music and live!"
"Thanks so much for having our son
in your class last week. It meant a huge amount to him. His playing is already
more muscular and sure, and he is trying new things he learned from you and the
other players...your extraordinary, passionate students. He is still high from
"Hey Dave-First i want to thank you.
I loved the days with you and think often about the time.Your energy for the
music and the people around you was great.I feel me so close to you as person
and musician. For me is really important to stay in touch. Thanks for all."
"I am sure the Saxophone Masterclass is life-changing for everyone who ever participates in it, no less so for my son. Thanks for including him.He has learned so much. I am hearing him put some of it onto his horn right now.He's really playing.Long way to go, but moving forward positively."
Where does a saxophonist go to commune with fellow saxophonists, share musical experience and accomplishments with each other, get the very best educational advice from a master saxophonist, and become musically revitalized? Well, if you're one of the seventy five plus saxophonist who have Participated in the David Liebman saxophone master class over the last eight years, then, it is to the reunion session held every fourth year. Since 1988, Dave Liebman has conducted a one week, advanced level, interactive workshop and master class near his home in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, and every fourth year he asks the saxophonists who have taken the class before back for a refresher session that explores in greater detail the saxophone, jazz and Liebman's unique musical concepts and approach to the art.
The class was originally developed by Dave as a vehicle to bring his private students together in a fellowship, and allow an in-depth exploration of many musical topics that could not be covered in the limited time of a private lesson. The class has grown and is perpetuated primarily through word of mouth. Now students, professionals, and educators from all over the world submit tapes to be accepted to the master class. According to Dave, the reunion class is particularly rewarding because he has a chance to see and hear the development and growth of his students.
The format begins with the opening night meeting, after everyone has checked into the air-conditioned facilities and eaten dinner in the university's dining hall. What follows is an intense but balanced amount of listening, playing studying and personal interaction (partying) filling the week. The individual days are divided into morning and afternoon periods. Activities which occur include drum/saxophone or piano/saxophone duo playing with Liebman functioning as the pianist and drummer; listening and viewing rare, historically significant tapes and videos (often punctuated with discussions of their artistic and technical significance), as well as interesting personal stories (often "road stories") and anecdotes about the musicians and music. Among things that Dave played were some extremely rare footage of Coltrane. Shorter, Miles Davis, and himself. Interspersed throughout the week are many thought provoking readings from a variety of philosophical, artistic, or socio-political works which have a significance to the art of jazz as well as the creative process.
In addition to the playing, videos, and readings, Dave lectures on a variety of topics. Among this year's topics were a review of the fundamental techniques of playing and controlling the saxophone as taught by the master Joe Allard and outlined in Dave's book, Developing a personal Saxophone Sound, and a listing and discussion of expressive devices used on the saxophone. Other topics included a discussion of Ludmila Ulehla's book, Contemporary Harmony, which led to a deep discussion of chromaticism as organized in Dave's A Chromatic Approach to Jazz Melody and Harmony. Of special interest was the application of chromatic techniques to the development of hearing, and construction of solos both harmonically (vertical) and melodically (linear) from polychords. Dave also presented a lecture on rhythm, exploring metric modulation, polyrhythms, and manipulation of the time (playing with, against, and over the time). A discussion of ethnic or world music and their influence on modern jazz as well as his own music was included. Another lecture included an extensive discussion about chord nomenclature and voicings in relation to composition. Both written and aural examples for all the lectures were extracted from his most recent recordings and publications as well as other historically significant artistic works. Dave also did a presentation dealing with the business of music which included a review and critique of an actual recording contract.
Another interesting and informative part of the master class are the student projects. Each student makes a presentation of one aspect of their professional life that reflects their interests and development. This year's projects ranged from recent recordings and analysis of transcriptions, performances of original compositions, demonstrations of practice routines, methods for ear training, development of chromatic patterns, and presentations on influences from North Indian and African music. Dave provided insightful and interesting comments for each project.
In addition to the valued information that Dave provides, a guest saxophonist is invited every year to lecture at one of the afternoon sessions. This year Dave's long time friend and colleague, saxophonist Michael Brecker served in this capacity. After sharing interesting stories on his musical development, professional experiences, and some saxophone and jazz pedagogical information, his presentation ended with some wonderful saxophone/drum duo playing by Dave and Mike (each one taking a turn on drums ). Other guest lecturers in recent years have been saxophonists Steve Coleman and Bill Evans as well as mouthpiece manufacturer Gary Sugal. Joe Lovano is currently slated for next year's master class.
Before the week was up, one afternoon session was dedicated to performing the student's original compositions with a professional rhythm section. This year Dave was able to secure an all-star trio consisting of Jim McNeely (piano), Steve Gilmore (bass) , and Bill Goodwin (drums). The afternoon session not only provided a wonderful playing experience for each of the saxophonists, but the opportunity to have an original composition played as well as reviewed and critiqued by musicians of this caliber was an extremely valuable experience.
Finally, the evenings were reserved for working on mouthpieces, playing and exploring some of Dave's ethnic flutes while enjoying a cookout, practicing, and generally "hanging"- sharing ideas about the saxophone, jazz and the world with saxophonists from literally all over the world. This year's reunion session contained 16 saxophonists from 5 different countries, and one guest guitarist from New Zealand. A truly invigorating week.
David Liebman Group
Saxophone / Chromatic Master Class
of Schools of Jazz (IASJ)
Past Newsletter Archive ('93-Present)
CDs, Books, Music available for Purchase