I had a few other contenders in the running for this week’s posting, but decided to post the below video in honor of the amazing Dave Liebman Group performance I attended Sunday evening at Western Michigan University. Without turning this post into a full-blown concert review, suffice it to say that Sunday’s performance was mind-blowing, as expected. It wasn’t my first DLG show, and those readers of this blog are likely familiar with my quasi-fanatic enthusiasm for Dave Liebman. (I was fortunate enough to take a lesson with him at his home in 2005, a lesson from which I’m still learning…) In case you’re unfamiliar with Liebman’s work and/or style, this week’s video serves as a nice primer. And if you already are acquainted with Lieb, hopefully it offers something new.
This video has been a favorite of mine for over five years. It was originally released in 2006 as part of Bret Primack‘s now-defunct Jazz Video Podcasts series. (Primack has done many wonderful things for documenting jazz on the internet over the years.) Bret offers a brief biographical introduction to Liebman specifically (under which you can see some classic footage of Quest), followed by a wonderful interview excerpt. Here Lieb succinctly describes his pedagogical approach. “3-H Club” (Head, Hands, Heart) may seem cute at first, but it runs deep and true.
The bulk of the video features the Dave Liebman Group live in Brazil performing Liebman’s “Nars Dream” (a contrafact of “Nardis”). While it may seem pretty “straight ahead” for DLG, it features a number of the group’s trademarks: fluidly shifting grooves, heterophonic sax & guitar interplay, complex harmonic extension, and a complete no-holds-barred, nothing-to-lose attitude.
While “Nars Dream” is no free improvisation, you can still get a sense of the near-telepathic level at which this group operates. (Of course, when you have a working improvisatory group of virtuosos for two decades, that’s what happens.) If this is your first taste of Dave Liebman or DLG, I hope you like it and seek out more. The discography for both is immense, and there is a decent amount of YouTube footage of the last year of DLG’s performances alone. (For example, try to watch this and sit still…)
(PS — Try not to snicker too much at the new-but-not-quite-clever title for the video series, MTH-V. Short and to the point.)