LEWISBURG, Pa. — Saxophonist David Liebman, a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, will perform in concert Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 8:30 p.m. in Bucknell Hall at Bucknell University.
The concert, which is free and open to the public, is part of the University's ongoing Jazz at Bucknell First Wednesday Series.
Joining Liebman will be the international team of bassist Drew Gress and percussionist Phil Haynes, joint veterans of more than two dozen critically acclaimed recordings as a rhythm section.
This trio's lean and distinctive instrumentation of Liebman's wooden flutes, soprano and/or tenor saxophones, layered with bass and drums, has it roots in the trios of the legendary Sonny Rollins, Lee Konitz, and the late Elvin Jones.
Jazz at Bucknell producer Haynes notes that "historically, such piano-less ensembles often exude a certain African muscularity, excitement and even spirituality. Soloistic counterpoint, as if calling out in a collective conversation, is highlighted between instrumentalists in terms of lyricism, harmony, texture and/or rhythm," he said.
Liebman is considered a forward-thinking artist whose advanced improvisational style and association with trumpeter Miles Davis in the '70s combined to make him one of the most influential and successful jazz musicians of his generation.
Born in Brooklyn in 1946, Liebman studied classical piano and saxophone before focusing on jazz, a move he attributes to seeing John Coltrane perform live in New York on multiple occasions. He continued his private jazz studies with such artists as Joe Allard, Lennie Tristano and Charles Lloyd while earning a degree in American history from New York University. After graduating, he focused solely on a career in music and quickly became an active leader in the vibrant late '60s "loft" scene in New York City.
In the early '80s, Liebman formed the cooperative ensemble Quest with pianist Richie Beirach, drummer Billy Hart and bassist George Mraz and later bassist Ron McClure. Beginning with group's self-titled 1981 debut for Palo Alto, Quest has continued to release albums throughout Liebman's career. In 2011, he was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Jazz at Bucknell series presents international modern masters and young visionaries, showcasing the entire tradition of jazz, from standards to the avant-garde, with an eye on artists who continue the innovative tradition of the music with their personal approaches to sound, style and composition.
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