NEA Jazz Master (2011) David Liebman’s career has spanned nearly five decades, beginning in the early 1970s as the saxophone/flautist 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 and 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 multiple languages), in addition to teaching DVDs, journalistic contributions to periodicals and published chamber music. Lieb‘s autobiography What It Is-The Life Of A Jazz Artist (Scarecrow Press) is a fascinating look into Lieb’s career. His bands over the years have included noted musicians such as John Scofield, Richie Beirach, Bob Moses, Billy Hart and others. The current group Expansions features some of the best of the younger generation. Lieb is the Founder and Artistic Director of the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ) existing since 1989, which is a worldwide network of schools from nearly 40 countries. Liebman’s 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 teaching at the Manhattan School of Music and a guest lecturer at Berklee College of Music. Dave has consistently placed in the top positions for Soprano Saxophone in the Downbeat, Jazz Times and JazzEd polls since 1973.
Liebman is among the most important saxophonists in contemporary music . . . a leader and artist of integrity and independent direction.” Downbeat Magazine
“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
“The confidence that Dave Liebman shows in the chemistry of his musicians is justified and each hearing reveals new facets of these musical gems.” Ken Dryden, NYC Jazz Record