Just to mention that if you don’t wish to receive this newsletter (several times a year) you can unsubscribe through the web site (if that is how you subscribed) or directly to me if this came as an e mail. Some people may be on both lists-if you do indeed receive two copies PLEASE go to my web site and unsubscribe-this is the easiest way to do it. I am always adding people whom I think would be interested but one never knows, because of clutter or just not interested, you may not wish to receive this. I encourage you to visit my web site which is updated every so often to see about publications, articles and so on. I have added a nice photo gallery also. (www.davidliebman.com/lieb)
By the way I hope everyone’s summer was healthy, productive and of course relaxing. Most musicians do a lot during the summer including workshops which abound during that season all over the world. My summer activities are described following the lead item.
In my several decades of teaching jazz, I have observed many examples of teachers who are incredibly dedicated to their job. I recall when I first did the Jamey Aebersold Summer Camps which was my first introduction to jazz education in the late 1970s. I met teachers from all over the country without reputations as performers, but who were fine players and most of all absolutely selfless in their teaching contributions. In any subject, be it math or science, I am awed by teachers who serve their students day in and day out, realizing that some of them may not be motivated or are mere beginners. I am fortunate to teach mostly professionals or advanced students who come to me after the fact, therefore motivation is not a major component of what people like myself are challenged with when teaching. There are other subtle things, but it is not necessary to preach to the converted to quote a cliché.
Where I have lived for the past thirteen years, there is such a teacher named Pat Dorian. His official capacity is at the local state university- teaching, running the marching and concert band, etc. But in addition to these duties, he organizes local high school students into a big band for the yearly Celebration of the Arts Festival (known as COTA) held in Deleware Water Gap, Pennsylvania (on the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania about one and half hours from New York and Philadelphia). The COTA Festival was initiated by Phil Woods, one of the several elder statesmen we living in the area, in collaboration with several local musicians. For over 20 years, it has taken place the weekend after Labor Day, rain or shine and primarily features local musicians with a smattering of name brands. By the way, everyone receives the same $100 payment. (This year I will be performing with saxophonist Billy Drewes’ group as well as the Festival Big Band playing arrangements of some of my originals). The COTA student big band this year has 32 members-yes, that number is correct. We are talking about a lot of horns in each section!! But Pat doesn’t want to cut anyone out. They play challenging original compositions by some of the students as well as other composers including Phil Woods. Let’s put it this way-they are not playing Satin Doll!!
Besides this big band and his university responsibilities, he also plays some gigs on trumpet, assists me with my yearly Saxophone Master Class(12 years) held at the university each summer, organizes concerts which features non-music major students along with people like Freddie Hubbard, Jimmy Heath and Clark Terry among others, and is in the process of initiating courses in jazz appreciation and more. He is one of the most even tempered, smart and humorous persons I have ever known. He is not a man to be trifled with but his students admire him and work hard to please. Pat is an example of true selflessness-giving without tangible rewards, year after year. I am proud to be associated with him and others like him. My hat goes off to you all of those who do their job with sincerity and conviction and spread the word about this art form.
Throughout the years, readers of INTERVALS have been informed about the IASJ, which I began in 1989 as an organization of jazz schools worldwide, meant to include all levels from the largest conservatories to private schools. The raison d’etre of the IASJ is to connect young people from different countries under the banner of jazz, and in so doing promote positive cross cultural communication between various cultures as well as expanding playing and teaching possibilities. With nearly 40 countries represented from every continent at present, the organization (headquartered in the Hague, Netherlands) is still growing although there is no stable financial base since we are completely voluntary and until we find funding, depend upon dues. Each year we hold an Annual Jazz Meeting in a different member city/country to which students, teachers and administrators attend from on the average, 20 plus countries, for a week of playing, sharing ideas and general hanging out.
This year we held our Tenth Meeting in the beautiful and famous city of Santiago de Compostela, located in northwest Spain (Galicia region). It is primarily known as a destination for Christian pilgrims traveling to see where one of the apostles, St. James is buried. The Spanish government (similar to most of the other Mediterranean countries) is not very supportive of jazz, unlike their Northern European neighbors. To hold an event for nearly 150 people from all over the world including South Africa, Bratislavia, Japan, Israel, Brazil, the U.S. and Europe is a major job. (Also Dr.Willie Hill and Michael Demmerle along with their wives attended, who are respectively the President and European Coordinator of the International Association of Jazz Educators-the large American –based organization). Our host school was the Estudio Escola de Musica lead by Suso Atanes, who was one of the original members who came to our first meeting in 1989 when I put the idea of the IASJ on the table in Germany. In fact at that point, I didn’t even know where Santiago was!! As we have witnessed in past meetings, there is a special atmosphere provided by the host city which is unique. Here, we were treated to not only the incredible cathedrals and fine food, but performances by a local folk group as well as young and amazing Flamenco musicians (with whom I performed in a final incredible concert). It was a week never to be forgotten. Our next meeting in July, 2000 will be hosted by the famous and prestigious Paris Conservatory in France.
Each of the armed forces of the United States have their own big band which performs all over functioning basically for public relations purposes.The Airmen of Note from the Air Force evolved from the famous Glenn Miller band of World War II and has been the breeding ground for some well known writers and players, among them Sammy Nestico whose big band arrangements can be found in every dance band library. I was invited to perform with them in July near Washington D.C. for a well attended free concert and their staff writer, Alan Baylock even arranged two of my original compositions. This is by the way, how I have gathered a pretty nice size big band book of arrangements of my own tunes-many writers have contributed over the years. It was a great concert and I was very impressed with the level and versatility of the Airmen of Note.
In late July, my wife and I attended the wedding of Dave Jemilo, who runs the Green Mill in Chicago where I have worked for years both with my own groups and local guys, which was the case this time. (The Mill has the original décor reputedly built with “some input” from gangster Al Capone). When I do a gig with so-called “local” musicians I usually play standards since it makes everyone comfortable and ready to communicate without having to digest new music for just one performance. There seems to be at times a hidden pressure to play originals, which although I agree is positive on several levels, sometimes results in so much attention being paid to interpreting the written page that by the time the improvising comes around, there is little energy or inclination to really play with each other. The spirit of searching and trial and error which to me is the essence of improvisation may be lost on such occasions.That polemic aside, it was a great night playing with bassist Kelly Sills, drummer Joel Spencer and the remarkable and ever creative pianist Jim Trompeter. I really love the way these guys play and their spirit. It was a nice night in the Windy City although it was nearly 110 degrees that day! I return there with my group in October.
This was the 12th year of my Master Class held at East Stroudsburg University and it has become my custom every four years to have a reunion. I invite back past participants in order to check their progress, discuss the challenges being presented to them and generally go deeper into both my ideas and theirs. This reunion year I had ten former attendees, some from as far back as ten years ago and one musician from Sweden coming for the third time. In some cases over the years I have performed or collaborated with them, and as such they have become more than just students. I am glad to say that as usual I was very proud of their work and commitment which demonstrates to me that as time goes on, things get better for those who stay on course. My guest this year was the drummer/percussionist in my group, Jamey Haddad who does a great job in presenting rhythmic dexterity and odd meter to the students, regardless of instrument. During one of the evenings, all the saxophonists played originals with Jamey, Tony Marino and pianist Phil Markowitz at the famous Deerhead Inn, located in Deleware Water Gap.
Students interested in attending next summer should send
me a tape of their playing after January 1st and can get in touch
with me through the web site for details.
Every once in awhile you revisit a recording from your youth that knocks you out all over again. I remember the “Alfie” recording by Newk and how incredibly adventurous he played on it. In fact the period from “The Bridge” recording with Jim Hall which includes “Our Man in Jazz”,”East Broadway Rundown”and “Standard Sonny Rollins” from around 1961-through 1965, stands out as some of the most advanced playing that was ever accomplished by anyone. Listening again to the tracks on “Alfie” just brought me back and forward at the same time. What I have been personally working on is breaking up the rhythm and Sonny does it all over the place on this session, by the way with great arrangements from Oliver Nelson. A true masterpiece!!
Joe Lovano was the guest of honor for the Montreal Jazz Festival this July which means he had five nights of different settings to plan. He invited Mike Brecker and myself to open the series up along with Kenny Werner on piano, Idrees Mohammed on drums and my old friend from the 60s, Cameron Brown on bass. We had a ball playing mostly standards and listening to each other. I think the audience had a real treat also. We will be playing at Birdland in New York on December 16-18 and I will feature this group in my next newsletter.
I had a nice gig with a singer/pianist Ric Delaratta in August with whom I made a recording featuring Eddie Gomez and Lenny White a few years ago. Incredibly he got all three of us together to play in upstate New York and it was a real treat to be with these fantastic musicians. It goes without saying that Eddie is one of THE major voices to have ever played bass and in Lenny’s case we go back to when I was in college at New York University in the Bronx, NY during the mid 1960s. Lenny was a teenager whom I knew from jam sessions in Queens, NY. We used to play at pianist George Cables’ home along with Steve Grossman. I recall Lenny playing at the college with me for an outdoor concert and then six months later hearing him on “Red Clay” with Freddie Hubbard. He is still a killer in any style.
For two nights at the Knitting Factory in New York I put together a three horn project with my wife Caris on oboe and English horn, one of my best students ever, Loren Stillman on alto and flute, the ever present (in my musical life) giant Tony Marino on bass and Scott Cutshall on drums. The concept was pretty free with the high register horns as the primary color. Playing at the Knit brings back the old loft days in New York when you played just for the musicians-as far out as you liked.
SUITE FOR SOPRANO SAX AND ORCHESTRA:At the IASJ Meeting in New York in 1994, a participant was pianist Florian Ross from Koln, Germany whose talent was immediately recognizable. We stayed in contact and he sent me a piece he had written for soprano and orchestra which I immediately suggested we should do sometime. A few years later we performed the piece live for the SDR German Radio near Stuttgart and it was just released on the very active label, Naxos, which has recently begun producing jazz with pianist Mike Nock as the head of A&R . It is a very romantic suite with wonderful string writing by Florian and great trio playing along with some of Germany’s finest young talents, bassist Dietmar Fuhr and drummer Jochen Ruckert.
SOULS AND MASTERS:For many years when I visited my parents in Florida, I would often play with pianist Mike Gerber who is legendary in South Florida as an extraordinary talent. Blind since childhood, he is comfortable in any style of music and can sing like Stevie Wonder as well. Our association included composer Rhoda Averbach, whose music we often played sometimes in duo, other times in quartet. We finally recorded the duo version of Rhoda’s music and it has been released on a small Canadian label, Cactus, available through North Country Distributors-a company that specializes in small, independent and usually adventurous labels. The music is harmonically intricate, rhythmically fluid and at the same time quite appealing melodically. In some ways, it harkens back to my duets with Richie Beirach but Rhoda’s compositions and Mike’s wide ranging piano playing sets me off in different directions.
MONK’S MOOD:In the string of repertoire records I have done (Trane, Miles, Cole Porter, West Side Story and Puccini to come) I have always wanted to do Monk in a trio format, without a chord instrument. The unique character of the melodies suggest a certain kind of improvising that seemed interesting to pursue. With two musicians that have been on several of my recordings over the years, bassist extraordinaire Eddie Gomez (who more than fills up for the lack of a chord instrument) and the swinging Adam Nussbaum who played with me for several years back in the late 70s, we play some of the more obscure Monk tunes in various arrangements. This is available on Double Time Jazz or through Caris Music Services (www.davidliebman.com/caris).
COMING SOON: There is an internet site which is beginning to attract attention. It has been around for awhile featuring classical music but they now have included jazz. Around October there will be available for downloading a recording of my present group (Haddad, Juris and Marino) live from Birdland in New York. Also there will be an extensive video interview with me that as I was recall was quite good, conducted by writer Bret Primack. The site address is www.gmn.com/jazz/welcome.asp.
THERE IS A LONG INTERVIEW OF ME BY LARRY NAI IN THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE OF CADENCE MAGAZINE-BY THE WAY ONE OF THE LONGEST RUNNING JAZZ MAGS WITH INTEGRITY.
SEPTEMBER: 4th with saxophonist Billy Drewes at the Deerhead Inn, Deleware Water Gap, Pennsylvania; 11th with Drewes at the COTA Festival in Deleware Water Gap;12th with the Festival Big Band as featured soloist;14th at the Knitting Factory with Norwegian saxophonist Petter Wettre’s trio in New York;16th at the new Woodwind Shop with Marvin Stamm in New York
OCTOBER:With the Dave Liebman Group on tour in the mid west;12th-Hope College-Holland, Michigan;13th-the Kitchen in Indianopolis;14th-University of Indiana in Bloomington;15thand 16th at the Green Mill in Chicago;17th at the Montmartre in Madison, Wisconsin;18th at Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin;19th at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan;20th at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor;21st at the Bop Stop in Cleveland, Ohio;30th at the Deerhead Inn in Deleware Water Gap;31st at William Paterson College in Wayne, New Jersey
NOVEMBER:1st with the Dave Liebman Group at the Blue Note, New York;Teaching tour of Europe:11th-Malmo, Sweden;12-14 in Aarhus, Denmark;15 and 16 in Netherlands doing saxophone workshops;17 –19 at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague, Netherlands;20-22 in Frankfurt,Germany at the FMW Jazz School.
HOPE TO SEE YOU ON THE ROAD-ALL THE BEST FOR A HEALTHY AND SUCCESSFUL AUTUMN BEFORE THE MILENNIUM!!