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David Liebman

Related: American music - saxophone - jazz


Dave Liebman (born on September 4, 1946, Brooklyn, New York) is an American saxophonist and flutist.

Liebman is a New Yorker, and a History graduate from New York University. He learned both piano and saxophone as a boy but had no formal jazz education. In the late sixties he worked with Pete La Roca, Chick Corea, Dave Holland and Steve Swallow, amongst others, before joining Elvin Jones's band. In 1972 he was asked to join Miles Davis's group, and he can be heard on Davis's albums On the Corner, Big Fun, Dark Magus, and Get Up With It (the half-hour opening track "He Loved Him Madly" is based on Liebman's haunting flute). After leaving Davis's group in 1974, he toured with Corea and recorded two albums for ECM. He has played tenor saxophone, but his main instrument is the soprano saxophone, which he has played exclusively since 1980. He has continued to perform and record up to the present day. Liebman is a master player in the modern style of John Coltrane, and considers himself a disciple of tenorman Hank Mobley. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Liebman [Aug 2006]

The critic's dilemma

For an artist in any field, the entire notion of being judged is daunting. Depending upon a variety of circumstances and one’s personality, it is never easy to be criticized and invariably it is wonderful to be praised. After all we are all human beings with sensitivities. True, as Miles Davis remarked to me, one can make it a practice to ignore all reviews. On the other hand, I recall an interview with John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy in which thy responded to the critics who labeled their music angry and negative. (To me, that is incredulous since Trane’s music was among the most spiritual I ever encountered!) And then there is the statement by Gene Lees: “All criticism is self justification!”

To be honest, I do feel that there can be something of value to be learned from a serious expert commenting on my work. One of the primary functions of art is communication and you can never be sure how the work is perceived “out there”. I have had reviews which did shed interesting light on some aspect and it has at times been illuminating as well as humbling. In any case, the whole subject of reviewing art raises timeless questions beyond one’s personal feelings, including the effect upon one’s career and the crucial problem as to whom is qualified to pass judgment.


The function of the critic became necessary as soon as civilization passed beyond the communal stage and not everyone was present at the same time for performance, be it ritual, celebration, oratory, etc. The general public needs information about events happening elsewhere in order to prioritize their leisure time. More importantly, elucidation about what to expect can heighten the layman’s appreciation of a performance, especially in an unfamiliar language, be it abstract painting, modern theater, jazz, etc. Being human means having opinions and therefore expressing one’s taste in mundane matters as to which cereal to buy to more important issues such as choosing one’s friends. It is virtually impossible to be 100% objective, try as you can. Even a skilled historian purportedly relaying incontestable facts about a past event, shades the presentation merely by deciding on which points to present or omit. -- http://www.upbeat.com/lieb/Feature_Articles/criticproblem.htm

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