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Dave Liebman: “You Must Learn All of the Scales and Arpeggios and Chord Names Because That Is the Alphabet of the Music”


This interview delves into the formative years and illustrious career of renowned saxophonist Dave Liebman, tracing his musical odyssey from the pivotal moments of playing alongside jazz legends Elvin Jones and Miles Davis in the early 1970s to witnessing John Coltrane’s live performance at Birdland as a teenager. Liebman reflects on his eclectic musical influences, the values that define him as both a human and a musician, and his commitment to openness and inclusivity in interpreting diverse musical genres.

Liebman shares insights into his early years of learning under saxophone guru Joe Allard and his experiences with the influential Quest group in the 1980s. The interview further explores Liebman’s recommended daily saxophone practice routines, emphasizing breathing exercises, overtone exercises, and the importance of mastering scales and chord names for aspiring jazz saxophonists.

As Liebman discusses the dichotomy between recording sessions and live concerts, he provides valuable perspectives on preparation and the gratification of immediate adjustments in the studio. He also addresses the interconnectedness of his personal and professional life, highlighting the continuous pursuit of artistic excellence.

The interview concludes with Liebman offering advice for aspiring jazz musicians, emphasizing the significance of a well-rounded musical education, active listening to jazz history, and the importance of self-expression and exploration.

Throughout the conversation, Liebman shares anecdotes, wisdom, and reflections on his favorite musicians, preferred saxophone equipment, and the timeless appeal of jazz, presenting a comprehensive and engaging narrative of his enduring passion for music.

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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music