Expansions: The Dave Liebman Group/WCS

Expansions: The Dave Liebman Group

DOUBLE CD: ACOUSTIC AND ELECTRIC

EXPANSIONS LIVE

Whaling City Sound Website

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Publicity: The DayAudiophile Audition,  The New York City Jazz RecordMusicians for Musicians, Cadence Magazine/Papatamus, Midwest Book Review, JazzWeeklyJazzdaGamaArtsfuseJazzBuzz, Jazz Quad, All About JazzPapatamus, All about JazzThe Morning Call, Miller Symphony Hall Concert,KIOS 95.1 FM, Jazz Weekly,Audiophile Audition,JazzTimes,Louisville Music News, Holland Sentinel, Michael Teager, Toledo,all•about•jazz, Midwest Record, The Telegraph,Sun Sentinel,Colorado Conversatory for the Jazz Arts,Jazzwise Magazine,Ann Arbor Observer,Nashville Scene, The Absolute Sound,

Radio Promoter: New World ‘n’ Jazz  The Puzzle Biggest Gainer 9/21/15  JazzWeek

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Acoustic tracks #1,2,7 recorded at Poncho Concert Hall, Cornish College, Seattle, Washington by Alek Edmonds produced by Earshot Jazz Festival – Oct 30 2014All other acoustic tracks recorded at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, Pittsburgh, PA by Jay Dudt – October 24 2015

Electric tracks all recorded at the Red Clay Theater, Duluth, Georgia by Sholom Aberle – April 21, 2016

Mixed by Matt Vashlishan

Produced by Matt Vashlishan and Dave Liebman

Executive producer: Neal Weiss

Publishing credits:

Bobby Avey: Avey Dell Music, BMI

Dave Liebman: Liebstone Music, BMI

Cover photos: Matt Vashlishan

Inside pictures: Aaron Winters

Package design: David Arruda

COMMENTS:

Jazz history is replete with live recordings and certainly for musicians it is the live gigs that teach and inspires us the most. Think of Miles at the Plugged Nickel or Coltrane at Birdland for example. Studio recording present a totally different atmosphere and aesthetic. Recording live with people in front of you (hopefully more than a few), a sound system to deal with, lights in your face with spontaneity as the goal, etc., etc., “things” happen that would be hard pressed to occur in a studio situation even playing the same music. Both scenarios are necessary for interested listeners and the artists towards measuring one’s progress. But it is in live performance that you really can feel a band’s particular kind of energy. In the case of “Expansions” we have recorded some of these tunes on the two previous releases, “Samsara” and “The Puzzle” so a comparison of the live and studio versions might be of interest. Also note worthy is the electric and acoustic programs, quite different in scope and texture. As well on this recording we pay attention to some classics from the jazz legacy, of course done our way. Enjoy!

Special thanks to Marty Ashby (Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild) and John Gilbreath (Earshot Jazz) for their cooperation towards releasing these tracks; to Neal Weiss for his continued support.

ACOUSTIC:

JJ: Written for my “brother” Jean Jacques Quesada, this is a simple head setting up a time/no changes approach.

Continues To Ignore: Bobby’s open, atmospheric ode to the short memory the world has concerning the tragic earthquake in Haiti a few years ago.

All Blues: This classic speaks for itself and along with “Footprints” on the electric CD, allows the band to do anything, anytime.

Vendetta: Playing a challenging chord progression, the “puzzle” here is to play melodically through the harmonies creatively and accurately, one of the biggest challenges in jazz playing.

Good Bait: Recorded by many, this is jazz pure and simple, with transposed rhythm changes as the harmonic basis.

Selim: Hermeto’s tune for Miles (spelled backwards) gave me a good opportunity to reharmonize and re-texturalize the original.

India: I have recorded this more than a few times with several different arrangements through the years. For me this tune represents that part of Coltrane’s oeuvre that explored world music before it was fashionable.

ELECTRIC:

Surreality: This is a way I like to play “fusion” with complex harmonies and atonal-type melodies over an odd-metered rhythmic background.
The Moors: Basically using the Spanish Phrygian mode, this song celebrates a short period spent in Andalucía playing with some fantastic young, Flamenco artists, organized by the great Madrid-based drummer Guillermo McGill.

Footprints: As mentioned above, this is another great vehicle for whatever is happening in the band in the moment… truly a modern standard.

Ugly Beauty: One of Monk’s masterpiece ballads, Bobby completely alters the harmonic and rhythmic structure.

Liberian Hummingbird: I introduce this tune as James Brown on steroids (which he definitely did NOT need!!) The bass line is funky and challenging to play over, composed by Bobby.

Love Me Tender: Elvis was my first musical idol as a kid and after two years of playing classical piano, I procured the lead sheet to this old Civil War theme (“Aura Lee”) marking for me the beginning of reading chord changes as mentioned above in the “Vendetta” description… once again arranged by Bobby.

Danse de la Fureur: From Olivier Messiaen’s seminal “Quartet For The End Of Time,” this is one of his lines used in this case for some “free jazz” interaction.

Russian to English GOOGLE TRANSLATION:

Monumental double album Dave Liebman said in 2016 his seventieth birthday. As with previous drives his new group Expansions: The Dave Liebman Group, the project is also implemented by Whaling City Sound with Neal Weiss, acting as its executive producer. But, unlike Samsara (2014) and The Puzzle (2015) album – concert. Already familiar with the mentioned works Expansions students meet here all the same unchanged in recent years, the quintet made up of students of the master and his longtime partner Marino in two versions. One of the discs of the album – acoustic, electric second (here pianist Bobby Evie moved for keyboards and bassist Tony Marino plays the electric bass guitar). The Acoustic program is made up of groups of materials performances in Seattle in 2014 and Pittsburgh in 2015, and all the electric was recorded at a concert in Duluth, Georgia, in April 2016.

Dave himself in a brief forward on the album talks about the differences between studio and live recordings. Naturally, a concert has completely different energy: the audience in a special way inspire musicians, but, unlike distilled conditions of a studio, here they glaring light, they depend on the vagaries of the sound system, and so on – all this creates as Liebman says, quite other aesthetics. Although, along with some new songs, Expansions play here quite a few things from the previous albums, they sound, of course, different.

“Acoustic” pleased double disc tribute to Miles Davis: his famous song All Blues and play Hermet Pascual Selim (read the word the other way around, and you’ll see what you get). Another impressive tribute to this part of the album – it is a classic play Coltrane India, where the sound of the soprano saxophone Liebman simply mesmerizing. Both the author of the play leader, already familiar from The Puzzle composition Vendetta and starting JJ, – excellent specimens of compositional skill Dave Liebman. Incidentally, I have not decided for themselves what Vendetta I liked more, the studio or the concert – each has its own “highlight”, but “political” composition Bobby Evie Continues To Ignore the tragedy of Haiti after the earthquake definitely won in a concert version.

“Electric” drive not less, and perhaps more interesting. First of all – by a stunning expression and the harsh beauty of the composition Liebman TheMoors, inspired by his memories of playing together in Andalusia with flamenco musicians. The Moors for me – an absolute “number one” of this double album that is worth listening to for the sake of this piece. An unexpected surprise was the jazz version of the mega-hits of Elvis Presley’s Love Me Tender: it turns out, and a jazz maestro in his youth paid tribute to the passion for Elvis, as he recalled in this track. In this part of the album is also enough material for comparison studio and live recordings: it monkovskaya ballad Ugly Beauty, and Liberian Hummingbird Evie and arrangement Liebman Danse De La Fureur French composer Olivier Messiaen, has pleasantly surprised me in the studio version on The Puzzle.

… Generally, gifts are presented celebrant. In this case, exchange the seventies, still energetic, creative and technically perfect Liebman, he made a gift to his listeners double album Expansions Live. However, they can “return the favor”, showing a high level of interest in this work. This addition is definitely worth it.
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June 2016

Stroudsburg, PA USA

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Papatamus:

Jan. 2016: DAVE LIEBMAN [ss/wooden recorder] rarely makes recordings that do not reward listening assuming you enjoy the genre he is addressing. He has well over 100 sessions under his own leadership and hundreds as a sideman or as a hired gun. His latest is THE PUZZLE [Whaling City Sound 075]. The puzzle, as Liebman writes, is working out the challenge of improvising in the context of jazz music, or any music by that reasoning. That challenge is addressed, on this spring 2015 recording, on 9 tracks by Liebman. Bobby Avery [acc p/el  p], Matt Vashlishan  [clt/flt/as], Tony Marino [b], who along with Alex Ritz [drm] make up Liebman’s group, Expansions. Two other tracks are Tadd Dameron’s, “Good Bait” and Messiaen’s “Danse De La Fureur”. This is not a blowing session but a carefully laid out and arranged set, which moves along lightly and brightly. Liebman is a many-sided musical figure, this well represents one of those sides, and once again challenge met. DAVE LIEBMAN [ss/wooden recorder] rarely makes recordings that do not reward listening assuming you enjoy the genre he is addressing. He has well over 100 sessions under his own leadership and hundreds as a sideman or as a hired gun. His latest is THE PUZZLE [Whaling City Sound 075]. The puzzle, as Liebman writes, is working out the challenge of improvising in the context of jazz music, or any music by that reasoning. That challenge is addressed, on this spring 2015 recording, on 9 tracks by Liebman. Bobby Avery [acc p/el  p], Matt Vashlishan  [clt/flt/as], Tony Marino [b], who along with Alex Ritz [drm] make up Liebman’s group, Expansions. Two other tracks are Tadd Dameron’s, “Good Bait” and Messiaen’s “Danse De La Fureur”. This is not a blowing session but a carefully laid out and arranged set, which moves along lightly and brightly. Liebman is a many-sided musical figure, this well represents one of those sides, and once again challenge met.

for OCTOBER 14 2016 release

EXPANSIONS LIVE DOUBLE CD: ACOUSTIC AND ELECTRIC

 

Dave Liebman’s group “EXPANSIONS” has been together for several years, definitely enough time to find a direction as a result of five musical personalities working together, touring and recording. This live recording captures a band “on the run.” There is no taking back a note or chord when playing live. Perfect it is not, but full of spirit and risk taking it is. The excitement is palpable from the first notes of the fast paced “JJ” penned by Lieb. Especially interesting are versions of songs that appeared on the last two Whaling City Sound recordings “Samsara” and “The Puzzle.” The differing material and sound of the band between the acoustic and electric CDs along with fresh and spontaneous renditions of classic jazz repertoire songs “All Blues” ”India” and “Footprints” give the listener a wide palette to delve into.

1/15/16: Expansions:  At Miller Symphony Hall

Show: 7:30 PM
Tickets: $23

For more information OR to buy tickets, click here
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11/21/15: Expansions: At the Jazz Gallery in NYC

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Expansions: Dave Liebman Group Oct 2015 tour dates:

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Oct 12-13: Kerrytown Concert house – 415 North 4th Ave, Ann Arbor MI 48104 Show time: 8pm. 

And workshops at University of Michigan

Phone: (734) 769-2999

reservations@kerrytown.com

For all other inquiries, please email us at kch@kerrytown.com

$30 Assigned Rows 1-2
$20 Assigned Rows 3-5
$15 General Admission
$5 Student


Oct 14
: Detroit Saxophone Center 21301 Gratiot Ave.

Eastpointe, MI 48021

Phone: (586) 777-7541

Oct 15: University of Toledo OH, Toledo, Ohio 43606-3390.

Phone: (419) 530-INFO

Phone: 1(800) 586-5336

Email: webmaster@utoledo.edu

Oct 16 – 17: Green Mill – 4802 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60640. Show time: Friday 9pm 1am. Saturday 8pm – 12am.

Phone: (773) 878-5552

Email: GREENMILL@COMCAST.NET

$15 cover

Oct 19: Howard Recital Hall in the brand new Miller Center for the Musical Arts at Hope College (room 221) 221 Columbia Avenue Holland, MI 49422 – Show time: 7:30pm

Phone: (616) 395-7650

Email: music@hope.edu

Oct 20: Ford Recital Hall: Located on the second floor of the Simon Music Center, 200 S. Jordan Ave. Bloomington, Indiana. Show time: 8:30pm

Oct 21: Clifton Center for the performing arts. 2117 Payne St, Louisville, KY 4020. Show time: 7:30pm-9:30pm

Phone: (502) 896-6950

Email: jharris@cliftoncenter.org

Tickets available at http://cliftoncenter.tix.com or Carmichael’s Bookstore on Frankfort Ave.

Oct 22: Bop Stop2920 Detroit Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113 Phone: (216) 771-6551. Show time: 8 – 11pm

Ticket Price: $20

Oct 23: Blu Jazz: 47 E Market St. Akron, OH 44308 . Show time: 7pm & 9:30pm

Phone: (330) 252-1190

Ticket Price: $20

Oct 24: Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild – 1815 Metropolitan St, Pittsburgh, PA 15233. Show time: 7:30pm & 9:30pm.

Phone (412) 322-1773

Oct  25: Slippery Rock University, 1 Morrow Way, Slippery Rock, PA 16057

Phone: (724) 738-2063

PICK UP THE PIECES….

EXPANSIONS: THE DAVE LIEBMAN GROUP assemble for The Puzzle
Understanding the concept of The Puzzle, Lieb’s second “new” group recording is simple: As he states: “Improvising is a matter of solving a puzzle.” Yes, of course it is. The difficulty lies in the execution and that’s when the fun begins.
The Puzzle, EXPANSION’S new recording on the Whaling City Sound label centers on the construction skills of the group featuring five extraordinary musicians—Lieb on soprano sax and wooden flute; Matt Vashlishan (reeds); Bobby Avey (keys); Tony Marino (bass) and Alex Ritz (drums). Each one is a heavy lifter…… each one a puzzle solver. As the eleven tracks unfold, it’s interesting and revealing to see how the puzzle analogy works. The musical elements get scattered about at the onset. Next, the improvisation and extrapolation are addressed as these pieces begin finding their place in the whole scheme. Eventually, it all comes together and the assembled puzzle gets an opportunity to shine.
With Liebman, a master improviser, showing the way, EXPANSIONS directs its energy towards dissembling and reassembling the vernacular of jazz. At the core, this group is an adventurous ensemble, eager to invent and constantly in search of new terrain to explore. Its debut album skirted the outer edges of new jazz interpolation and concepts with a profoundly intellectual approach to composition and improvisation. The Puzzle finds the band getting even deeper into the headier aspects of the process, daring each other to find fresh ways of considering the music at hand.
Songs like “The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave” embrace that challenge. “The Thing” according to composer/bassist and long time Liebman associate Tony Marino, addresses the whole ever present matter of dissonance versus consonance. The opening track, “Hat Trick,” penned by reed man Matt Vashlishan, is at first a playful romp with a handful of highly rhythmic and intervallic based motifs all coming from seemingly various directions, with the bass, piano, and sax all finally meeting up in the end. Album closer “Danse De La Fureur” is a Liebman-adapted track excerpted from an Olivier Messiaen composition written while this 20th century master master was a prisoner in a World War II prison camp. It is bruising and maniacal, dark and disturbing, uniquely Expansions-esque.
And so goes the entire recording. For those listeners who like jazz to tickle their cerebral cortex, that like a good challenge when they choose what music to listen to, Liebman has always been an excellent choice. Match Lieb’s vast skills and energetic spirit with the accompaniment and contributions of the group members and you get The Puzzle, an intensely satisfying recording with all the right pieces coming together……a completed puzzle if you like…..sure to please fans of contemporary and serious jazz.

Dave Liebman bio excerpts:

Dave presently serves as the Artistic Director of the IASJ (International Association of Schools of Jazz-a network of jazz schools worldwide founded by Liebman in 1989). At present as an educator he serves as Artist in Residence at the Manhattan School of Music, NYC as well as guest lecturer at Berklee College of Music’s Global Jazz Initiative. He has consistently placed among the top three finalists of the Downbeat Critics Poll since 1973 in the Soprano Saxophone category, gaining the top place in 2011 as well as placing 1st in the Jazz Times Critic’s Poll the same year, taking the top position in the JazzEd poll (2015). In 2011 he was chosen as an NEA Jazz Master, the highest honor in the field granted by the U.S. Government. Other similar accolades include an Honorary Doctorate from the prestigious Sibelieus Academy (Helsinki, Finland) and the Order of Arts and Letters granted by the French government. Liebman has been featured on over five hundred recordings of which he has been the leader or co-leader on nearly two hundred. His artistic output has ranged from straight ahead classic jazz to chamber music; from fusion to avant garde and world music. Lieb’s published materials include a wide variety of books considered classics in the field as well as instructional DVDs and chamber composition: Self Portrait of A Jazz Artist, A Chromatic Approach to Jazz Harmony And Melody,Developing A Personal Saxophone Sound, several of which have been translated into multiple languages. Liebman’s biography is entitled, What It Is: The Life Of A Jazz Artist (Scarecrow Press). It’s not without good reason that Dave Liebman is considered a renaissance figure in the history of jazz over the past several decades. (complete bio available at www.davidliebman.com)

      “Liebman is among the most important saxophonists in contemporary music . .     a leader and artist of integrity and independent direction.” Downbeat Magazine

MT-Headed Blog

 

Musical thoughts and ramblings by Michael Teager


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 (click photo above for the full review)


Chris Spector’s review of The Puzzle!

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“The Puzzle” is available on Amazon.com! For the full review, click here!

 

Tracks

1: Hat Trick 4:40
2: For J.A. 6:13
3: Vendetta 6:47
4: Good Bait 5:01
5: Sailing 6:23
6: The Puzzle 6:39
7: Off Flow 7:47
8: Continues To Ignore 8:32
9: Off And Off 3:13
10: The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave 5:03
11: Danse De La Fureur 5:03
Total running time: 65:45
Personnel:
Dave Liebman – soprano sax, wooden recorder
Matt Vashlishan – clarinet, flute, alto sax, straw, EWI
Bobby Avey – acoustic piano, electric keyboard
Tony Marino – acoustic, electric bass
Alex Ritz – drums, frame drum
Production Credits:
Recorded in Spring of 2015 at Red Rock Recording, Saylorsburg, PA, by Kent Heckman
Edited by Bobby Avey
Mixed and Mastered by Matt Vashlishan
Produced by Expansions
Executive producer: Neal Weiss
Graphics and package design by David Arruda Jr.
Photographs:
Pat Flaherty-Kastelnik: jacket back cover, booklet pg 2
Naoki Hayashi: Lincoln Center live performance photos
Publishing info:
Track 3, 6, 7, 9, by Dave Liebman, Liebstone Music, BMI
Track 8 by Bobby Avey, Avey Dell Music, BMI
Track 1, 5 by Matt Vashlishan, Matt Vashlishan, BMI
Track 2, 10 by Tony Marino, Daroot Music, BMI
Tracks 4, 11 arranged by Dave Liebman
Track 4,  Good Bait (Tadd Dameron, Count Basie) WB Music Corp., ASCAP
Track 11,  Danse De La Fureur (Olivier Messiaen) Universal Music Pub. / Durand-Salabert-Eschig, SACEM
Notes
LIEB writes:
Why “The Puzzle?” It’s very simple. Improvising is a matter of solving a puzzle… a musical challenge. A worthy composition in this context provides an idea to be worked out during the improvising process. A famous example is the “Giant Step” cycle that is “Problem Solving 101” for all contemporary musicians; another might be finding just the perfect expressive devices to translate a melody from paper to sound; or how to permutate a specific motif through several minutes of playing, etc. Yes…, jazzers are always working on completing the puzzle.
Dave Liebman, on his compositions:
Vendetta in the classic sense usually depicts a difficult human situation. For this tune, I searched for a melody and harmonic framework that expressed more of a sadness than the anger I felt as a result of a “vendetta-like” action towards me from a person I admired.
The Puzzle is in this case the challenge of playing through the harmonies derived from the question and answer melodic statement.
Off Flow was originally recorded by my group of the ‘90s and 2000’s on “Turn It Around” (Owl Records-1992), inspired by the off-beat language I hear in the music of the great Brazilian artist Hermeto Pascoal.
Off and Off (a purely musical title) uses a 12-tone row spread among the instruments in a rhythmical canon serving as the basis for group interaction.
…tunes arranged by Dave Liebman:
Good Bait by Tadd Dameron and Count Basie is a perfect vehicle for playing rhythm changes in two keys, here as a starting point for group dialogue.
Danse De La Fureur (Dance Of Fury) is an excerpt from one of the movements of Olivier Messiaen’s epic composition written in a concentration camp “Quartet For The End Of Time” — a perfect setting for intervallic and rhythmic dialogue by the group.
Bobby Avey, on his composition:
Continues To Ignore – Despite the recurring harm the United States has inflicted on Haiti throughout its tragic history, too many American citizens remain regrettably uninformed and apathetic about the current state of Haiti. “Continues To Ignore” is about that general apathy. Rhythms and concepts borrowed from the drummers of the Societe Absolument Guinin from Port au Prince provide musical inspiration for the piece.
Matt Vashlishan, on his compositions:
Sailing was originally composed in 2009, when it won an ASCAP young composers award. The composition is based entirely on the opening four note piano figure and was given its title after it was completed. Written initially for alto sax, guitar, bass, and drums, the piece fits into Expansion’s instrumentation and concept perfectly.
Hat Trick is best described using both definitions of the term. In reference to a magic trick, the melodic order and material from Messiaen’s 5th mode of limited transposition was selected from a hat at random. In reference to sports where a hat trick is “achieving a positive feat 3 times in a row,” the composition consists of three different lines made from the same melodic material using different rhythms between the saxes, piano and bass.
Tony Marino, on his compositions:
For J.A. was written for a Philadelphia pianist and educator Jimmy Amadie. Dealing with painful tendonitis and lung cancer, he always worked for the music and never gave up. Jimmy would have to rest his hands for months after a recording session. He would tell me: “I’m gonna beat this mother!” (meaning the cancer). After telling me he was a boxer in his youth, he said he learned how to play through the pain! Whenever a project was completed, he would sing me a song of praise that I was his healer and the greatest bassist that ever walked the earth! “Jimmy, are you kidding me?” What lessons you taught ME – about being focused; not taking the important things in life for granted; and especially, the healing power of music. Thanks to the band for for bringing it to life!
The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave is a title taken from an old Saturday Night Live skit where John Belushi plays a guest at Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtin’s home. After watching a horror film on TV, Belushi of course wants to hang all night and becomes the real life horror story. In reality, the tune is about me striving to learn the chromatic language. “The Thing” is dissonance “That Wouldn’t Leave.” Thanks to Lieb for helping me out with the harmony and arrangement… no one could ask for a better band leader and mentor.
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Twenty Years After

On Samsara, Dave Liebman debuts a long-awaited new group: EXPANSIONS

After over two decades of the Dave Liebman Group (featuring guitarist Vic Juris) the NEA Jazz Master unveils Expansions, a brilliant new adventure featuring members of the new generation of talented musicians eager, like their bandleader, to alter the language of jazz. These musicians, heard on the new Samsara release, include Bobby Avey on piano, Matt Vashlishan on sax, flute and clarinet, Tony Marino on bass, and drummer/percussionist Alex Ritz. Expansions is a remarkable band, not only for its talent, which is ample and evident, but for the fact that they represent an “expansion” of Lieb’s horizons as well as honoring the jazz tradition of a legend mentoring the younger generation.

These new kids know how to flow with the boss!! Liebman’s most direct influences—Coltrane and Miles, instilled in him a need for constant growth and evolution. In this case pursuing edgy rhythms and complex harmonic settings. The directions are unpredictable and dazzling, with an emphasis on collective improvisation…a milieu seemingly built for Liebman as evidenced in his extraordinarily diverse stylistic career.

The effect is especially intoxicating on excursions like the funky “Liberian Hummingbird,” the uniquely styled “Level One,” and “Endive,” (a reworking of Monk’s “Evidence.”) “Simply,” the opening track, is awash with rhythmic surprises while “Child Refugee,” running at nearly eleven glorious minutes, is dedicated to the plight of “the innocent victims of politics and violence worldwide since the beginning of time.” ”Samsara,” recycles and re-orders the twelve pitches of Western music several times in tempo, key and rhythm over a colorful canvas.

Deeply felt, eclecticism is the order of the day here for the sax great, as it always has been. Certainly with this cadre of young musicians, the excitement is palpable. Liebman’s heady concepts underline and reinforce the spectacular playing of his new instrumentalists…a group that will soon enough etch its own achievements in the annals of modern jazz.

Excerpts from recent biographical information from Dave’s website:

Liebman has most notably been awarded the NEA Masters of Jazz, the Order of Arts and Letters from France and has been a perennial name in Downbeat and Jazz Times polls among the top soprano saxophonists since his tenure with Elvin Jones and Miles Davis in the early 1970s. He presently serves as the Artistic Director of the IASJ; is Artist in Residence at the Manhattan School of Music, NYC and guest lecturer at the University of Toronto.

After leading he legendary group Quest in the 1980s, from 1991 through 2012, the Dave Liebman Group was formed featuring guitarist Vic Juris which toured and recorded nearly 20 CDs, ranging from jazz standards to Puccini arias, adaptations from the John Coltrane and Miles Davis repertoires, as well as original compositions in styles ranging from world music to fusion to free jazz. Over the past several decades, Liebman has often been featured with top European musicians such as Joachim Kuhn, Daniel Humair, Paolo Fresu, Jon Christensen, Bobo Stenson, Michel Portal, Wolfgang Reisinger and Jean-Paul Celea among others. His reputation in Europe has led to big band and radio orchestra performances with the WDR in Koln, Germany; Metropole Orchestra, Netherlands; “new music” groups Klangforum, Vienna; the Ensemble Intercontemporain from Paris and Avanti from Helsinki, Finland playing music specially commissioned to feature Lieb’s unique soprano saxophone style. Liebman has been featured on over 500 recordings, of which he has been the leader or co-leader on 150.

Lieb’s published materials include a wide variety of books considered classics in the field as well as instructional DVDs and chamber music; Self Portrait of A Jazz Artist, A Chromatic Approach to Jazz Harmony And Melody and Developing A Personal Saxophone Sound (which has been translated into multiple languages). Liebman’s biography is entitled, What It Is: The Life Of A Jazz Artist (Scarecrow Press).

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NarrowsSaxPoster

Sax Under the Bridge:

Greg Abate Quartet and

The Dave Liebman  Group”Expansions”

At The Narrows

Fall River’s Narrows Center for the Arts and CD label Whaling City Sound present sax road warriors Dave Liebman and Greg Abate and their respective new bands on the same night, Thursday, Oct. 9 at the Narrows Center, starting at 8 pm. Both jazz veterans will be featuring music from their new Whaling City CD releases.

Greg Abate resides in Rhode Island, but spends very little time there. He tours, performs to sold-out crowds and records all over the world. The list of band mates on his many CDs as a leader reads like a who’s who of jazz masters, including pianists Kenny Barron and the late James Williams, saxophonists Phil Woods, Richie Cole and trumpeter Claudio Roditi. His latest band includes a dream trio of giants based in the Boston area. Pianist Tim Ray spend several years with Lyle Lovett, has shared the stage with Aretha and Bonnie Raitt, among others, and has had at New England Conservatory and Harvard. He is currently at Berklee College. 

Bassist John Lockwood has appeared on many recordings, is an anchor of the longtime jazz juggernaut The Fringe (with George Garzone and Bob Gilotti), and is featured on not less than six previous Whaling City releases. His impeccable taste, rock solid rhythmic drive and the famous Lockwood bounce elevate any performance, live or recorded, on which he is present.

Drummer Mark Walker is a multi-Grammy winner and Berklee professor. A mainstay behind Carribean Jazz Project and Paquito de Rivera, Walker has a remarkable following in the Latin jazz arena. As part of this group, Walker shows he can also contribute handily in be-bop and swing settings. When he performs, you can usually tell who the drummers are in audience; they are the ones with their jaws dropping.

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Following the death of longtime jazz innovator and icon John Coltrane, his longtime drummer Elvin Jones tapped Dave Liebman for Elvin’s band and subsequent recording. Lieb also toured and recorded with Miles Davis shortly after the release of  “On The Corner.”  Lieb has over 200 CDs as a leader or co-leader and appears on 300 more.  After maintaining his own solid band for over 20 years, Liebman is now launching a new group, Expansions, with his breakthrough Samsara CD. Never one to rest on his laurels or the music from his significant past, Liebman remains a spiritual and musical leader for younger and older musicians who want to forge their own paths rather than follow. As Dave says of his latest group and music, “the direction is eclectic…with an emphasis on free collective improvising, along with rhythmic/harmonic devices that have become so prevalent…explored by the new generation, who, like their predecessors, have changed the jazz language.”

Rounding out the band are newcomers and veterans alike: saxophonist Matt Vashlishan, pianist Bobby Avey, bassist Tony Marino and drummer Alex Ritz.

The excitement will be tangible and the evening historic: a chance to see two saxophone veterans and their latest bands, both of whom have never sounded better, stronger and more committed to their art than they are today.

Click link to buy tickets: http://tickets.narrowscenter.org/

For more information call 508.324.1926

For more information on Greg Abate

For more information on Dave Liebman 

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Twenty Years After

On Samsara, Dave Liebman debuts a long-awaited new group: EXPANSIONS

After over two decades of the Dave Liebman Group (featuring guitarist Vic Juris) the NEA Jazz Master unveils Expansions, a brilliant new adventure featuring members of the new generation of talented musicians eager, like their bandleader, to alter the language of jazz. These musicians, heard on the new Samsara release, include Bobby Avey on piano, Matt Vashlishan on sax, flute and clarinet, Tony Marino on bass, and drummer/percussionist Alex Ritz. Expansions is a remarkable band, not only for its talent, which is ample and evident, but for the fact that they represent an “expansion” of Lieb’s horizons as well as honoring the jazz tradition of a legend mentoring the younger generation.

These new kids know how to flow with the boss!! Liebman’s most direct influences—Coltrane and Miles, instilled in him a need for constant growth and evolution. In this case pursuing edgy rhythms and complex harmonic settings. The directions are unpredictable and dazzling, with an emphasis on collective improvisation…a milieu seemingly built for Liebman as evidenced in his extraordinarily diverse stylistic career.

The effect is especially intoxicating on excursions like the funky “Liberian Hummingbird,” the uniquely styled “Level One,” and “Endive,” (a reworking of Monk’s “Evidence.”) “Simply,” the opening track, is awash with rhythmic surprises while “Child Refugee,” running at nearly eleven glorious minutes, is dedicated to the plight of “the innocent victims of politics and violence worldwide since the beginning of time.” ”Samsara,” recycles and re-orders the twelve pitches of Western music several times in tempo, key and rhythm over a colorful canvas.

Deeply felt, eclecticism is the order of the day here for the sax great, as it always has been. Certainly with this cadre of young musicians, the excitement is palpable. Liebman’s heady concepts underline and reinforce the spectacular playing of his new instrumentalists…a group that will soon enough etch its own achievements in the annals of modern jazz.

Excerpts from recent biographical information from Dave’s website:

Liebman has most notably been awarded the NEA Masters of Jazz, the Order of Arts and Letters from France and has been a perennial name in Downbeat and Jazz Times polls among the top soprano saxophonists since his tenure with Elvin Jones and Miles Davis in the early 1970s. He presently serves as the Artistic Director of the IASJ; is Artist in Residence at the Manhattan School of Music, NYC and guest lecturer at the University of Toronto.

After leading he legendary group Quest in the 1980s, from 1991 through 2012, the Dave Liebman Group was formed featuring guitarist Vic Juris which toured and recorded nearly 20 CDs, ranging from jazz standards to Puccini arias, adaptations from the John Coltrane and Miles Davis repertoires, as well as original compositions in styles ranging from world music to fusion to free jazz. Over the past several decades, Liebman has often been featured with top European musicians such as Joachim Kuhn, Daniel Humair, Paolo Fresu, Jon Christensen, Bobo Stenson, Michel Portal, Wolfgang Reisinger and Jean-Paul Celea among others. His reputation in Europe has led to big band and radio orchestra performances with the WDR in Koln, Germany; Metropole Orchestra, Netherlands; “new music” groups Klangforum, Vienna; the Ensemble Intercontemporain from Paris and Avanti from Helsinki, Finland playing music specially commissioned to feature Lieb’s unique soprano saxophone style. Liebman has been featured on over 500 recordings, of which he has been the leader or co-leader on 150.

Lieb’s published materials include a wide variety of books considered classics in the field as well as instructional DVDs and chamber music; Self Portrait of A Jazz Artist, A Chromatic Approach to Jazz Harmony And Melody and Developing A Personal Saxophone Sound (which has been translated into multiple languages). Liebman’s biography is entitled, What It Is: The Life Of A Jazz Artist (Scarecrow Press).

Dave Liebman and Michael Stephans Lineage
Balancing the Past, Present, and Future

Since he began to seriously pursue a career as a jazz artist back in the 1960s, Dave Liebman has been on a transformative journey towards becoming a true original in the genre. After assuming sideman slots with the likes of Miles Davis, Elvin Jones, and Chick Corea, to name but a few, he has certainly earned his stripes. Those who’ve followed him more closely understand that he has become a deep and soulful storyteller in jazz in a way few others have.

So what would you say to a trailblazer like Liebman when you discover he’s taken a batch of beloved pop songs-sweet, memorable, hummable “chestnuts” in the popular lexicon-and completely deconstructed it?

Liebman has, over the years, proved to be a risk-taker, a challenger, someone who purposely defies convention in a way that every iconoclast, especially musical ones, dare to every chance they get. After such an illustrious career, it’s evident that Liebman has earned the right to cherry pick his projects and challenges. Lineage, his project with drummer Michael Stephans, is just that kind of project.

Billed as “rock and pop classics revisited,” Lineage is actually a project long in coming. Liebman and Stephans talked about the idea a few years ago and started compiling a wish list of possible songs. Given the trajectory and complexity of Lieb’s career, they never got the chance to pull it off. Still, like all interesting ideas, it hung around and never really faded out of view.

In 2010, the idea resurfaced. Lieb, with Stephans, guitarist Vic Juris, Bobby Avey on keys, Evan Gregor on bass, and woodwinds guru Matt Vashlishan began working on them the way a baker kneads hunks of dough. The list of potential covers, begun years back by Lieb included several of their favorite songs from the 50s and 60s by artists like Elvis, the Ventures, and, of course, the Beatles. Song titles emerged: “Love Me Tender,” “Wipeout,” “Woodstock,” and “Walk, Don’t Run,” among others.

Then the deconstructions started. Lieb and company cracked chestnut after chestnut, and watched the shells fly. Down goes “Mr. Sandman,” re-harmonized in classic Liebman fashion. The same goes for “I Only Have Eyes for You,” the vocal classic popularized in the 50s by the Flamingos. The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” is less loose, but equally bewitching, fueled by Liebman’s soprano sax and a lovely counterpoint arrangement by Evan Gregor. A funky take on “Tequila,” a song Liebman admits led him directly to the saxophone, is playful and rousing, but in a way only vaguely reminiscent of the original. In every case, the band breaks down these songs, the way Rodin destroyed his sculptures, with panache and irreverence at the same time; treating the material roughly, while also stroking it gently as one would a temperamental animal.

Produced by Liebman and Stephans, recorded at Tommy Tedesco’s Tedesco Studio and mixed by Marty Mellinger at Cross Keys, the recording, on the Whaling City Sound imprint, falls at a beautiful and logical crossroads of Liebman’s career in which he is comfortable enough to go “pop,” inventive and mature enough to deconstruct songs with wit and imagination, and entertaining enough to make sure he doesn’t leave listeners on either the pop or the jazz sides behind in the process.

Excerpts from recent biographical information from Dave’s website:

Liebman presently serves as the Artistic Director of the IASJ and is Artist in Residence at the Manhattan School of Music, NYC. He has consistently placed among the top three finalists of the Downbeat Critics Poll since 1973 in the Soprano Saxophone category, gaining the top place in 2011 as well as placing first in the Jazz Times Critic’s Poll in the same year.

From 1991 through 2012, the Dave Liebman Group featuring guitarist Vic Juris toured and recorded nearly 20 CDs, ranging from jazz standards to Puccini arias, adaptations from the John Coltrane and Miles Davis repertoires, as well as original compositions in styles ranging from world music to fusion and free jazz. Over the past several decades, Liebman has often been featured with top European musicians such as Joachim Kuhn, Daniel Humair, Paolo Fresu, Jon Christensen, Bobo Stenson, Michel Portal, Wolfgang Reisinger and Jean-Paul Celea among others. His reputation in Europe led to big band and radio orchestra performances with the WDR in Koln, Germany; Metropole Orchestra, Netherlands; “new music” groups Klangforum, Vienna, and the Ensemble Intercontemporain from Paris, Avanti from Helsinki, Finland playing music specially commissioned to feature Lieb’s unique soprano saxophone style.

Liebman has also been featured on close to 350 recordings, of which he has been the leader or co-leader on 150. His artistic output has ranged from straight ahead classic jazz to chamber music; from fusion to avant garde and world music.

Lieb’s published materials include a wide variety of books considered classics in the field as well as instructional DVDs and chamber music (Aebersold Publications, Caris Music and Advance Music): Self Portrait of A Jazz Artist, A Chromatic Approach to Jazz Harmony And Melody, Developing A Personal Saxophone Sound, several of which have been translated into multiple languages. Liebman’s biography is entitled, What It Is: The Life Of A Jazz Artist (Scarecrow Press).