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I got to hear Dave Liebman tonight and hang with him for a drink, listening to Coltrane on the jukebox, after the concert. We eventually got around to talking equipment and he is using a Lebayle on tenor and had high praise, for now, for Aaron Drake's soprano mouthpiece.
He doesn't seem to mind traveling without his horns and said he likes the challenge of playing what is offered to him.
The one thing we got stuck talking about is how we thought we played better when we were younger. It is hard to reach outside of who you are no matter how much you practice or listen. It is like, if you have children you will understand this, how their personalities are pretty much the same as when they were one year old.
 

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Interesting about playing better when younger. There are a few layers to that discussion too, it seems to me. The point about you are who you are, & that the personality is formed very early...I think that's true too. Most if not all of the great artists I admire more or less came on the scene at a young age, sounding for the most part fully formed/evolved...the really great players almost always sounded killer right from the start. Some exceptions might be Miles, or Trane, where Miles' vision was largely to consciously avoid something he did in the past, & Trane was so focused & diligent & made gains throughout his short career.

Another part of it it would seem is that as we age, many of us become more self-conscious, more concerned about monitoring ourselves, as opposed to when young, we either didn't know any better & just went for it, took chances. Also the older we get the more critical we can become, even of ourselves, & this can hinder free flow of ideas, etc. We hear more as we age, hear more things that are great, & it can become intimidating in a chronic sense. It's harder to free your mind to speak & get in the zone with some of the baggage...makes me think of that wonderful book by Kenny Werner, Effortless Mastery.

Must've been cool to be in a place w/ trane on a jukebox...hangin' w/ Dave...weird about him enjoying the challenge of using any horn available for gigs...most folks would think that to be a nightmare, I'd presume :)
 

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Liebman was in town a couple months ago but had personal horns with him. It might have been that Syracuse is only a 4-5 hour drive from NY city.
 

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Interesting.

I found that Getz just got better and better as he aged. I felt him to be at his prime when he died. The records with kenny barron were sensational....his sound and ideas were at their best.
Phil woods in his 60's was still killing.

I guess there usually comes an age where you have to accept that you're past your prime. Maybe Phils was in his 60's?

I dont understand travelling the world doing gigs on horns you dont know. I see that as clearly a challenge, and not one i would embrace.
I understand his physical limitations...but maybe bring someone with you that will carry the horns?
Obviously this shows again, that the mpc is more important--- as thats what he, and bird for example, would carry with them.

That hang will be a nice memory for you.
 

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Why does Liebman not use his own horns sometimes? Is it the challenge of flying with it? B
 

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I think his sound has changed, dramatically, on soprano, over the years, esp. in the last 20. (Much bigger & fuller)
As far as tenor, to me, he sounded better in the 70s.

As far as overall playing, I guess you could say he was better when he was young, but there really aren't many guys out there that can build an entire solo & hold your interest, starting with pretty much absolute nothing. "Free playing" can be a dangerous & boring thing, in the hands of lesser mortals, thats for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Some exceptions might be Miles



Miles from '55. Is it really that different than what came later? Yeah, different kind of rhythm section, but his sense of harmony, melody and the color of his sound really didn't change much. The note choices that he plays on the end of the bridge are like stuff he was doing years later.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdXA6jPT45o
 

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Since you asked...

I feel that Miles' sense of harmony/melody/sound changed dramatically over a 30 year period, from '45 to '75 especially. Compare his sound/approach on that youtube clip you posted of What's New in '55, to Dark Magus, for example (or pretty much anything from '73 - '75), & it's striking how differently he plays, even taking into account the apples/oranges stylistic considerations, & just looking at what he played.

I also think that from late 50s through the second great quintet of the 60s, his playing/technique was at its pinnacle...in a bop-based modern jazz sense...much later than when he got to NYC in '45 or so. He's been described (& criticized, unfairly?) as sounding like an amateur on some of that Parker quintet stuff in the late 40s.

More to the point, though, is that his musical vision evolved tremendously over his career, & he never stopped trying to do new things with his bands. That's where I see Miles having made such impressive gains, IMHO.
 

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Dennis Diblasio doesn't fly with his horns anymore after some idiot airline inspector decided to pick his bari up by the D palm key.
 

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Ever since I first heard Lieb, I really dug his approach. One of those guys who was always really good at playing a wide variety of textures, and good composer as well.

Funny, first thing I thought when I heard Lieb was that he reminded me of Michael Brecker (around 1986). My saxophone teacher was quick to explain how Brecker probably picked up a lot from Liebman and Grossman early on...

As far as his tenor playing, I like it a lot. I don't know if he plays as much tenor now as he did in the early '70s, but I dig it all.

I saw Lieb in Chicago when New Vista came out...I don't recall if we talked or not, but that group with Haddad on drums and percussion, Vic Juris on guitar, and Tony Marino was smokin'! Lieb hobbled in on crutches due to some recent mishap and played incredible on soprano and tenor.

Shawn

ps Great timing, was just enjoying some old Lookout Farm radio broadcast tapes I picked up from a tape trader a while back playing in Germany and Japan. Great stuff, what a terrific group that was too....
 

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As I heard Liebman explain the different horn scenario - he basically equates it to concert pianists go to different venues and play different instruments. They don't get to take the one they work on. They understand what it is they do and the mechanics involved in doing it. Why are saxophone players different? They understand how to produce sound and manipulate the air etc. Those skills should translate to another sax.

I agree. Having at one stage had a military instrument and a private instrument and using the different instruments for military gigs and private ones but using the same mouthpiece it really wasn't that tricky.
 

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It all depends on what the performance is & who the performer is.

You could get thru a concert band or military band performance pretty easy with a bundy tenor--there usually aren't any tenor solos in that stuff & what you have to deal with is playing the parts with a good tone & being in tune.

Being a traveling jazz soloist...a bit different. Some players like to have the comfort zone of their familiar horn, so they can relax & their head will not be distracted by something different & concentrate on making the music great.
Sonny Rollins has played the same horn for 35+ years & doesn't even use a back-up, because of this.
Liebman is the opposite of the spectrum. I guess you can get inspiration & play different things because of the struggle (maybe just mental) of adjusting to a new horn every nite, too.

I still think he does it because of the TSA & the reality of flying in recent history---who can blame him? Everyone knows its a pain to fly with horns--most times things go OK, but you never know? It's no fun having those thoughts & apprehension that some hassle might happen, hanging over your head, every time you fly.
 

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Dave will bring his tenor when we go on the road. It's a two tenor band, no soprano. But he does have amazing adaptability with respect to playing an unknown horn.
He just played Des Moines with Vic in June, and played my friend's SBA. Said friend is hoping some magic got left in it ;-)
 
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