NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman’s career has spanned nearly five decades, beginning in the early 1970s as the saxophone/flutist in both the Elvin Jones and Miles Davis Groups, continuing as a bandleader since. He has played on over five hundred recordings with nearly two hundred under his leadership or co-leadership. In the jazz education field 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 multiple languages), in addition to teaching DVDs, journalistic contributions to periodicals and published chamber music. His autobiography ‘What It Is’ (Scarecrow Press) is a fascinating look into his career.

Dave is the Founder and Artistic Director of the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ) since 1989, which is a worldwide network of schools from nearly 40 countries. His awards, besides the NEA honor, include the Jazz Educators Network (JEN) Legends of Jazz (2013); 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 guest lecturer at both the University of Toronto and Berklee College of Music. Dave has consistently placed in the top positions for Soprano Saxophone in both the Downbeat and Jazz Times polls since 1973.

‘David Liebman has the ability to touch the soul eeking from the wayward horn an extraordinary depth of emotion and dramatic range. His cantabile style, as identifiable as a human voice in its emotional tone and dramatic role playing may, in a given solo, conjure up anguish, ecstasy, anger, fear, hilarity or haughtiness. Liebman’s music is storytelling of a very high order-form, content, accent, color and mood are all in place, on cue.’

Awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master (2011); the highest honour granted for jazz by the U.S. government.

Photograph by Matt Vashlishan.

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