David Liebman

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Dave Liebman (2015, Aarhus Jazz Festival)

David "Dave" Liebman (born September 4, 1946 in Brooklyn , New York City ) is an American tenor and soprano saxophonist (occasionally he also played the flute and clarinet). He is "one of the central saxophonists of Coltrane-influenced modernity."

Live and act

Liebman received piano lessons from the age of nine. From the age of twelve he played the tenor saxophone and, as a teenager, attended John Coltrane's concerts several times . With the help of Bob Moses , he gave his first concert at the age of fourteen. He was privately tutored by Joe Allard , Lennie Tristano, and Charles Lloyd while in high school and studying music at Queens College . He graduated from New York University in American history in 1968. Then he emerged in the New York loft scene as the organizer and musician of the cooperative Free Life Communication . He has been a professional musician since 1970, initially in an early jazz rock band, Ten Wheel Drive , where he was the only woodwind player and also had to play the soprano saxophone.

Dave Liebmann (2019, Loft Cologne )

Then Liebman was part of Elvin Jones ' band for two years , recorded with Miles Davis ( On the Corner , Get Up with It ) before touring worldwide with his group in 1973 and 1974 ( Dark Magus ) and with Bob Moses in the Open Sky Trio played. With his first own group Lookout Farm (together with Richie Beirach , from the end of 1973) he was successful. In 1977 he toured with Chick Corea before founding a quintet (including with John Scofield ) and then performing again with Beirach. Since 1981 he worked collaboratively with him in the Quartet Quest (first with George Mraz and Al Foster , then with Ron McClure and Billy Hart ). In Europe he has performed with numerous musicians such as Joachim Kühn , Daniel Humair , Paolo Fresu , Jon Christensen , Bobo Stenson , Harry Pepl , Michel Portal , VEIN or Jean-Paul Céléa as well as with the WDR Big Band Cologne , the Metropole Orkest and im Area of new music to the Ensemble intercontemporain and the Klangforum Wien . He also wrote cross-genre music for string quartet .

Liebman wrote a number of textbooks, including Chromatic Approach to Jazz Harmony & Melody and Self Portrait of a Jazz Artist . Among saxophonists, his book The Personal Saxophone Sound ("Developing a Personal Saxophone Sound") is particularly respected, in which he describes the entire process of sound generation on the saxophone and exercises in breathing , the movement of the larynx , the tongue position when playing, the approach and the so-called overtone exercises.

In 2018, Dave Liebman donated his personal archive to the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Prizes and awards

Liebman has been listed almost consistently as one of the leading soprano saxophonists in the Down Beat critics' poll since 1973 . In 2011 he also led the jazz times critics poll.

His album Homage to Coltrane was in 1988 the record of the year by the French Académie du Jazz . In 1997 Liebman received an honorary doctorate from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and in 2000 the International Association for Jazz Education elected him to their Hall of Fame . His album Turnaround: The Music of Ornette Coleman received the 2010 German Record Critics Award . In 2011 he was awarded the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship .



  • Self-Portrait of a Jazz Artist: Musical Thoughts and Realities (1988, expanded edition Advance Music 1996); ISBN 978-3-89221-013-9
  • A Chromatic Approach to Jazz Harmony and Melody (Advance Music 2012); ISBN 978-3-89221-030-6
  • What It Is: The Life of a Jazz Artist (Studies in Jazz; Scarecrow Press 2012, with Lewis Porter); ISBN 978-0-8108-8203-4
  • On Education, the Saxophone, and Related Jazz Topics Jamei Aebersold Jazz 2002; ISBN 978-1-56224-059-2
  • Developing a Personal Saxophone Sound Medfield: Dorn 1989; German under the title The personal saxophone sound (Ardesa 1993 and Chili Notes 2009); ISBN 978-3-941661-00-4
Dave Liebman (2012)

Discography (selection)

Lexigraphic articles

Web links

Commons : Dave Liebman  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Wolf Kampmann Reclam's Jazz Lexicon
  2. Review All About Jazz
  3. Discussion of Jazzthing
  4. Discussion of Jazzthing
  5. ^ AllAboutJazz from December 4, 2009: Review of the album Live at MCG
  6. Quest at Allmusic (English)