2. Agua De Beber
6. Por Toda A Minha Vida
7. How Insensitive
9. Por Causa De Voce
12. One Note Samba
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Liner notes by Dave Liebman:
Blessings come in many ways to people…sometimes self evident, often taken for granted. To be able to play music with your family is surely a blessing that goes back to the beginning of mankind. Musicians know that the spirits, whatever they may be called, awaken when music is played and for those of us who partake in these riches, music making is a true benediction. Caris played oboe and was already an accomplished musician when we met, subsequently taking part on several of my recordings and contributing original compositions as well as solos. That was already remarkable. But to have our daughter love music, enjoy taking part and be talented in that way was yet another, unexpected blessing.
Lydia is in her early 20s as I write these notes meaning it is impossible to know where she will end up in this journey of life. We shared music throughout her growing years at home, both on stage and at home. Caris and I never pushed music with our daughter though she took lessons and participated in the normal school events. My idea behind this recording was to have a memento of those times we shared through music in her youth. The fact that all of us enjoy the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim so much made it a natural to record his tunes. As well, a few years ago I was introduced to the music of Brazilian guitarist/composer Guinga (thanks to Micu Narunsky for that) and I have been fortunate to have performed with him on several occasions in the last few years. Caris and Lydia were with me in Sao Paulo during the summer of 2011 at the meeting on the International Association of Schools of Jazz where I performed with Guinga. The “familia” agreed that we should include some of his incredible compositions.
I recorded “The Unknown Jobim” with my group in the late 1990s (shall I say for an “unknown“ record label!!) and remarked in those notes that in my humble estimation, he is THE popular composer of the 20th century. His tunes combine sophisticated harmony, lyrical melodies and at least from the sound of Portuguese, beautiful lyrics. To play his music is a joy and always a learning experience. As always I had the help of my incredible band of several decades and engineer Kent Heckman from Red Rock Studios all taking part in what originally was meant to be a musical memento commemorating the music that the Liebman familia has shared over the years. Incredibly, Richard Burton heard it and decided it would be a great follow up to “Neighbors” which featured me along with vocalist Nancy Reed (who was coincidentally Lydia’s jazz vocal teacher for years). This is the FAMILIA….the Liebmans with my brothers in arms having a good time. Enjoy.
Special thanks to Antonio Adolofo for his help in securing the correct music over the years; Renato Vasconcellos for practicing the Jobim tunes with Lydia and myself; Micu Narunsky for exposing me to Guinga.
2. Prince of Darkness
5. Hand Jive
8. Circular Dreaming
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QUEST is devoted to interdependent group music rather than the soloist with
rhythm aesthetic. The Miles Davis Quintet and John Coltrane Quartet of the
mid- 60s profoundly influenced Dave Liebman, Richie Beirach, Ron McClure and
Billy Hart, but more importantly, that music opened their creative minds to
the almost limitless possibilities in modern jazz. During the 80s, Quest was
one of the leading creative ensembles in this music, highly appreciated by
critics and connoisseurs. Thankfully after a 14-year hiatus, they regrouped
in 2005 to once again draw upon their skills, shared influences and empathy
to produce stunning music.
NYC JAZZ RECORD
by Ken Dryden
Liebman and pianist Richie Beirach have collaborated for decades, first in the ‘70s fusion band Lookout Farm. They co-founded Quest in the ‘80s, working with several different rhythm sections, though bassist Ron McClure and drummer Billy Hart have been with them for some time. Due to Beirach’s home in Europe, Quest reunites sporadically (seemingly and welcomingly more frequent these days) and the results never prove disappointing.n (Click above for complete review)
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
by John Kelman
Now entering its fourth decade, Quest has covered a lot of territory in that time. Featuring, since inception, saxophonist Dave Liebman and pianist Richie Beirach—truly one of the longest-lasting partnerships in jazz; one marked by an inimitable shared understanding and distinct musical language—Quest's initial approach was perfectly articulated by Storyville's 2010 reissue of the quartet's second and third releases, Searching for the New Sound of Be-Bop, the first to stabilize its lineup with bassist Ron McClure and drummer Billy Hart). Quest's early records may well have been forward-looking extrapolations on where bebop might have headed, but later records like Quest of One Mind (CMP, 1990) found the group exploring considerably freer terrain.
If it's true that we are the sum total of our experiences then, for a group with Quest's longevity, that total is, indeed, a far-reaching one. At a time when tributes to trumpet legend Miles Davis seem almost de rigueur—and, in Liebman's case, something he's already done more than once with the fusion-esque Back on the Corner (Tone Center, 2007) and Miles Away (Owl, 1994)—it's perhaps no surprise that Quest should put out Circular Dreaming, with its subtitle Quest Plays the Music of Miles' 60s. But it should also come as no surprise that, despite some well-known choices, with a particular emphasis on saxophonist Wayne Shorter—whose six-year tenure with Davis left a number of compositions that have since entered the jazz canon, including "Footprints," "Pinocchio" and "Nefertiti"—Quest's approach to this music is so seamlessly integrated with its own repertoire that, aside from a certain element of familiarity, the music absolutely feels of a kind with Circular Dreaming's two originals: Liebman's brooding, indigo-hued "M.D." and Beirach's similarly dark but more intrinsically lyrical title track.
But Quest doesn't just choose familiar pieces, though when it does it completely redefines them. "Footprints," from Miles Smiles (Columbia, 1966), is turned—first simmering then ultimately boiling over—into an intense, 4/4 burner, with Liebman's piercing tenor moving from visceral low register pushes to gritty upper register screams, bolstered by McClure and Hart's unrelenting swing and Beirach's impossible-to-anticipate harmonic movements through what remains, essentially, a blues at its core but whose form is so pushed and pulled as to be nearly unrecognizable beyond its well-known theme. Shorter's lesser-known closer, "Paraphernalia," from Davis' transitional Miles in the Sky (Columbia, 1968), is similarly twisted and turned from its original laidback foundation into another barnstormer, with Beirach delivering a career-defining solo where his longstanding classical interests are rendered crystal clear in his fugue-like, two-handed contrapuntal independence.
Liebman focuses primarily on tenor for this date, though his unmistakable soprano defines the group's look at Shorter's title track to Davis' Nefertiti (Columbia, 1968). A lengthy duo intro—where Liebman's nanosecond responses to Beirach's spontaneous reharmonizations speak to their telepathic connection—before McClure and Hart enter with an ambling but muscular swing to reshape the tune, is just one example of Quest's MO, as Michael Cuscuna astutely describes, in his brief liner note, as "interdependent group music rather than the soloist with rhythm aesthetic."
No longer driven to be either free or form-based, Quest has reached a point in its career where it can be one, the other—or both. The group's very name defines it, and with Circular Dreaming, Quest has managed both as fine a tribute to Miles Davis as there's been and a consolidation of its own multifaceted concerns, once again raising its own bar without there ever being any doubt that Liebman, Beirach, McClure and Hart will—individually and collectively—be able to meet it.
Featuring Guest Soloists: Dave Liebman, Saxophone and Randy Brecker, Trumpet
Gunnar Mossblad, Saxophone
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1. The Father, The Son & The Holy Ghost 11:33
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Original transcription by Caris Liebman
Music formatting and editing by Chuck Hallahan
Recorded on November 5, 2010, John C. Borden Auditorium
Manhattan School of Music
Produced by Justin DiCioccio and David Liebman
Concert Recording Engineer: Kevin Butote
Mastered by Mark Wilder, Battery Studios, New York, NY
Cover Design by Majel Peters
Project Coordinator: Stephanie Crease
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Proceeds from the sale of this recording will be donated to the Manhattan School of Music Scholarship Fund.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
On Nov 23, 1965, tenor saxophonist John Coltrane (1926-1967) went into the studio to record Meditations with his quartet—McCoy Tyner, piano, Jimmy Garrison, bass, Elvin Jones, drums—along with drummer Rashied Ali and saxophonist Pharoah Saunders, both of whom would soon join Coltrane’s working band. It was just a year since the recording of Coltrane’s acclaimed spiritual ode, A Love Supreme, a work whose profound musical expression of spirituality colored all that followed pointing the way towards his impending forays into “free jazz” with Meditations his first recording in this direction. Coltrane’s improvisationally-based compositions for this present recording are compiled as a suite. Taken as a whole, the movements of Meditations display this great musician’s art of schematically spinning out motifs –often with a torrential force, yet with an inherent strength and cohesion. Meditations, along with Ascension, an even more groundbreaking album recorded the same year, represent a line of demarcation for what is known as Coltrane’s Late Period, referring to the passionately expressive music that this titan of the saxophone and modern jazz performed in the last three years of his all-too short life. From 1965 until his death, Coltrane was heroically prolific and reaching ever outward; his music was even freer rhythmically and harmonically than that of his cutting edge work a scant few years earlier, on pieces such as “Giant Steps” and “Impressions”. For his admirers, then and now, Meditations is a notable expression of Coltrane’s creative spirit and deep faith–both as a soloist and leader of his like-minded players. This concert carries on the tradition, instigated by Dave Liebman and arranger Gunnar Mossblad to commemorate Coltrane and the original recording of Meditations. This is the premiere of Gunnar’s arrangement for the Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra. It includes many passages in which Mossblad effectively “recomposes” the improvisations of the musicians bringing forth a new realization of this vital work.
NOTES BY DAVE LIEBMAN
I have been performing this suite over the past decades to commemorate the five-year anniversaries of Trane’ passing and, since 1995, to honor the year Meditations was recorded. One notable performance was at New York’s Symphony Space in 2005, with the MSM Jazz Orchestra conducted by Justin DiCioccio, performing an arrangement for big band by Gunnar Mossblad, and featuring several guest soloists along with myself, the members of the group Saxophone Summit….Ravi Coltane, Joe Lovano, Billy Hart, Cecil McBee and Phil Markowitz.
John Coltrane’s effect on me remains as strong today, if not more so, as when I first saw him live on numerous occasions in the 1960s with the classic quartet (Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison and McCoy Tyner), inspiring me to pursue jazz msuic. I am still trying to fathom the intricacies of Trane’s musical and saxophonic language, likely wondering how he did it all to the end of my days.
I have always felt that listeners and even knowledgeable musicians have overlooked late Trane, quite possibly because of the incredible energy and density of the music. But there is something in the music beyond description… a sense of celebration and faith which I feel so deeply in Coltrane’s own playing and the compositions themselves from this period.
NOTES BY GUNNAR MOSSBLAD
I am fortunate to be part of the presentation of this landmark composition over the years. I originally arranged it for saxophone choir and rhythm section in 2002; then for the MSM Jazz Orchestra in 2005, gathering with each arrangement a greater understanding of the spiritual messages within, especially after working on this orchestral version. Perhaps it is the time I have spent with the piece. Perhaps it is the growth of my own musical awareness…most likely both.
What sets this version a part from the previous ones is the amount of composed material as compared to improvised. With each of the other versions I kept the basic formula of Coltrane’s original recording; a simple motif that Coltrane used for improvisation, presented in different keys and extrapolations with the rest of the group freely improvising within the minimal compositional limitations I could decipher from his own improvising and what appeared to be very loose directives to the other members of the group. After all Trane’s music relied heavily on the improvisational skills and musical interaction of his group.
With this symphonic version, it was imperative that I go deeper into the essence of the piece both spiritually and compositionally in order to express through written music, the spontaneously improvised accompaniment while still retaining Coltrane’s original feeling. Through extensive analysis and the compositional process I used his motifs and key sequences to develop my own structures for both new melodic material as well as accompaniment for Trane’s original melodies. These personal musical statements are intertwined throughout the piece.
I sincerely hope the listener will feel the depth and intensity of Coltrane’s Meditations perhaps feeling how this work of art has moved me both musically and spiritually.
2-Untitled Free Ballad 1 (Liebman, Porter, Ribot, Taylor, Jones)
3-Omega is the Alpha/ Ghosts (A.Ayler)
4-Trigonometry (O.Coleman/Pat Metheny)
6-Untitled Free Ballad 2 (Liebman, Porter, Ribot, Taylor, Jones)
7-Get Me Back to the Apple (D/Liebman)
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LINER NOTES by Lewis Porter:
While we were working on Dave's autobiography, "What It Is"
(published by Scarecrow Press in March 2012) we tossed around the idea
of doing a CD together after having performed together a few times before.
We decided to bring in some musicians Dave hasn't worked with before to
make this CD different and unusual. For Dave, this was the first time
with Marc Ribot, Brad Jones, and Chad Taylor.
I've known Dave since 1979 and Marc and Brad since 1987
Chad Taylor's a new friend-he's currently working on his Master's
degree in jazz history in my program at Rutgers in Newark-but I have
certainly been aware of him playing with many groups, including Marc's.
"Olivier" is dedicated to Olivier Messiaen. Dave and I
recorded this back in 2000 on my CD "Second Voyage." This
version has a very different feel with me playing a Yamaha Motif keyboard.
The Albert Ayler tribute "Omega is the Alpha"/"Ghosts" is Dave's
arrangement and it was his idea to pair these together. "Untitled
Free Ballad" 1 and 2 are group improvisations. For "Trigonometry,"
Dave came up with the arrangement. It is one of my favorite Ornette themes.
I love Ornette and have known him personally since 1985, jamming with
him a bit in the past few years. "Surreality" is a new piece that Dave wrote
for this CD. He says: "I have to thank my good friend Pat Dorian for this
title concerning entering New York City for a DL Big Band gig during
a so-called 'high alert' period (commemorating 9/11)
but somehow breezing through the Lincoln Tunnel like a walk in the park...
quite surreal given the pre-publicity warnings about traffic jams and
expected car checks." Dave has recorded "Get Me Back to the Apple" before.
He says: "This 'call' describes the feeling I get at times when I am
somewhere in the Midwest of America, dealing with the, let's say, a
'different' mentality compared to what I am used to in New York."
Finally, "Alabama" is Dave's arrangement of one of Coltrane's deepest
NYC JAZZ RECORD
by Ken Dryden
Liebman and pianist/jazz scholar Lewis Porter
had previously worked together on a few occasions, so
as they collaborated on
Autobiography ("What It Is"-Scarecrow Press),
they decided to make Surreality. The
choice of guitarist Marc Ribot, bassist Brad Jones and
drummer Chad Taylor, none of whom had worked
with Liebman before, provided added inspiration to
the saxophonist, who is known for his many different
stylistic interests and ideas, represented in a prolific
and diverse discography.