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David Liebman’s career has spanned over four decades, beginning in the early ‘70s with his "apprenticeship" period performing and recording in the groups of drummer Elvin Jones ("Live At The Lighthouse") and Miles Davis ("On The Corner"). Since then he has lead his own groups (Lookout Farm; Quest;The Dave Liebman Group) featuring musicians such as John Scofield, Richie Beirach, Billy Hart, Adam Nussbaum, Al Foster, John Abercrombie and Vic Juris. Lieb has consistently placed among the top three in the Downbeat Critics Poll for Soprano Saxophone since 1973; winning first place in both the Downbeat and Jazz Times Critic's Poll in 2011. As well in 2011, Liebman received the NEA Masters of Jazz Award, the highest honor for jazz given by the United States government.
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 published. His repertoire is among the most eclectic of contemporary artists ranging from original adaptations of standard material (Ornette Coleman,West Side Story, Monk, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Cole Porter, Alec Wilder, Puccini, Jobim, Kurt Weill) to 20th century inspired classical music; from fusion to his own big band and free jazz ensembles. Notable performances featuring Liebman as soloist in a contemporary classical setting include the groups “Klangforum” (Vienna, Austria) and the Ensemble Intercontemporain (Paris, France). In the education field he is a renowned lecturer producing several instructional DVDs and books, most notably: "Self Portrait of A Jazz Artist"-"A Chromatic Approach to Jazz Melody and Harmony"-"Developing A Personal Saxophone Sound,” (multiple translations in other languages). In addition Liebman has published multiple chamber music pieces (Advance Music, Germany) for a variety of instrumentations. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ) and is currently Artist in Residence at the Manhattan School of Music (NYC).
-Jazz Educators Network (JEN) Legends of Jazz award (2013)
-National Endowment of the Arts Masters of Jazz (2011)
-First place in Soprano Sax category of Jazz Times and Downbeat Critic's Poll (2011)
-Musician of the Year-All About Jazz, New York City (2010)
-Best Record of the Year (“Turnaround”)-German Journalists Assoc (2010)
-Order of Arts and Letters (France 2009)
-Jazz Journalists Award for Soprano Saxophone (U.S. 2007)
-Grammy nominations for performance of Best Big Band arrangement (2004); Best Jazz Solo (1998)
-Induction into the International Association of Jazz Educators Hall of Fame (2000)
-Honorary Doctorate from the Sibelius Academy (Helsinki, Finland 1997)
-Founder (1989)/Artistic Director of the International Association of Schools of Jazz
-Two National Endowment of the Arts grants for performance/composition (1991/1981)
"While others of his ‘60s generation have fallen off their ambition, Liebman has remained dogged about composition and trying different styles…he’s a fighter." (Ben Ratliff - NY Times)
"Liebman has developed a voice so singular and unique that his broad tone on tenor saxophone and his plaintive, almost crushing wail on soprano mark him with one of the most distinctive styles of horn-playing in all of modern music."(Raul DeGama Rose - All About Jazz)
"Fierce isn't just a trendy expression, but an accurate description of saxophonist, bandleader, educator and NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman. He plays with such a commanding presence that he always seems like the leader of whatever band he's in." (Will Friedwald - Wall Street Journal)
"Comparisons are often made between Liebman and an undeniable primary influence, Coltrane, but while Liebman has always been capable of the same stunning virtuosity that led to Coltrane's legendary 'sheets of sound'—wave after relentless wave of rising and cascading notes—the younger saxophonist has never been anything but his own man, with a soprano tone both warmer and more eminently visceral than Coltrane's nasally, Indo-centric tone, and a solo approach far more imbued with a narrative-like sense of construction and a willingness to let space be, at times, an equal partner." (John Kelman - All About Jazz)
"Liebman has hardly rested on his laurels…..he has worried his trademark modal cascades into a darker, more spacious vision that roams the unsettling boundaries of established acoustic-jazz harmony."
(Mike Hobart - The Financial Times, London)
"He has emerged with a personal voice on both horns: darkly incantatory, furiously intense, risk-laden, harmonically astute, rhythmically free, roiling passion tempering a sharp intellect."
(Mark Stryker - Detroit Free Press)
"Liebman hasn’t let the vicissitudes of the music industry or the fickleness of the listening public stop him from going about his business; that is, creating adventurous new music that explores all the nooks and crannies of the jazz tradition. One of the few truly individual post Coltrane soprano saxophonists-and a fine tenorman and flutist as well-Liebman is also a conceptualist who puts as much thought into his ensembles as he puts into each gleaming solo." (The New Yorker)
"Quietly and persistently Liebman has remade himself a soprano saxophone virtuoso, focusing on timbre and articulation and making what used to be his second instrument into a singularly eloquent interpreter of standards and originals." (Gary Giddins - Village Voice)
Liebman’s career has spanned over four decades, beginning in the 1970s as the saxophone/flautist in both the Elvin Jones and Miles Davis Groups, continuing as a leader since. He has played on over five hundred recordings with nearly two hundred under his leadership or co-leadership. In jazz education he is a renowned lecturer and author of several milestone books: Self Portrait Of A Jazz Artist, A Chromatic Approach To Jazz Harmony And Melody, Developing A Personal Saxophone Sound, translated into several languages, in addition to teaching DVDs, journalistic contributions to periodicals and published chamber music.
Liebman is the Founder and Artistic Director of the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ) existing since 1989. Awards include the Jazz Educators Network (JEN) Legends of Jazz (2013); National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master (2011); the Order of Arts and Letters (France 2009); Jazz Journalist’s award for Soprano Saxophone (2007); Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Solo (1998); Honorary Doctorate from the Sibelius Academy (Finland-1997). He is currently Artist in Residence at the Manhattan School of Music and member of the Presidential Advisory Board for JEN (Jazz Educator's Network). Lieb has consistently placed in the top three positions for Soprano Saxophone in the Downbeat Critic’s Poll since 1973, winning first place in both the Downbeat (2011) and Jazz Times Critic’s Poll (2011, 2012).
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