DAVID LIEBMAN: John Coltrane’s Meditations

Catalog# 71042

UPC# 602267104226

David Liebman: Tenor sax; Billy Hart: Drums;

Cecil McBee: Bass; Tiger Okoshi: Trumpet;

Vic Juris: Guitar; Caris Visentin: Oboe;

Jamey Haddad: Drums and percussion;

Phil Markowitz: Piano and synth; Tony Marino: Bass


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5 Stars!… a marvelous rendition of a five-piece work by Liebman’s ensemble…stands out because of the powerful playing of Liebman and company.” – Bob Karlovits, Pittsburg Tribune-Herald

On this special musical tribute, David Liebman: John Coltrane’s Meditations, Saxophonist Dave Liebman pays musical homage to John Coltrane and his monumental Meditations Suite. In this 30th anniversary re-creation of John Coltrane’s ground-breaking epic recording, “David Liebman and his self-challenging associates deliver a remarkably perceptive and indeed spiritual performance in which ordinary time stops and you enter Coltrane time”. (Quotes from liner notes by Nat Hentoff.)”00536 Lieb Med wide shot whole group GOOD

…profoundly moving… an exhilarating, chance taking, yet wholly idiomatic realization of this masterpiece… From it’s soul stirring levels of grandeur, to the solemn peace of its final seconds, performances like these are why music is worth revisiting.” – Jazziz Magazine

Featuring esteemed Jazz musicians such as Tiger Okoshi, Vic Juris, Phil Markowitz, Tony Marino, Billy Hart, and Cecil McBee, among others, the albums real appeal is hearing the genius of Liebman, who was voted the top soprano saxophonist by Down Beat Magazine. Liebman, like Coltrane, found prominence as a player for Miles Davis.00484 Lieb Med hand out Caris Vic GOOD

Liebman’s lifelong fascination with the music of John Coltrane has resulted in one of his most powerful albums yet, a new rendition of Coltrane’s “Meditations”. Coltrane’s magnificent composition spans a wide range of human emotion and spirituality from the ecstatic, speaking-in-tongues invocation of the Christian Trinity, to the otherworldly tranquility of the final movement, “Serenity”. Liebman’s own arrangement of the suite brings an added spiritual and musical dimension to the original. Liebman has rarely sounded as inspired on record, displaying a spiritual longing and restless energy worthy of the suite’s composer. This album will surely be remembered as one of Liebman’s best.” – Joe Middleton, Stereo Type

On this original and creatively impressive recording, entitled David Liebman: John Coltrane’s Meditations and recorded at a live concert at New York’s Symphony Space, Liebman not only recreates John Coltrane’s groundbreaking masterpiece, but re-envisions the album, breathing new life into the masterpiece and staking his claim as one of the most imaginative musicians of his Generation; and in doing so bestows his continual inventiveness and fresh legacy on the world of Jazz.

Song Selection:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost
  3. Compassion
  4. Love
  5. Consequences
  6. Serenity

Composed by John Coltrane

Transcriptions by Caris Visentin

David Liebman: Tenor sax
Vic Juris: Guitar
Jamey Haddad: Drums and percussion
Phil Markowitz: Piano and synth
Tony Marino: Bass
With Special Guests:
Billy Hart: Drums
Cecil McBee: Bass
Tiger Okoshi: Trumpet
Caris Visentin: Oboe

What the Critics Say:

“Liebman’s intimacy with this music allows for an exhilarating, chance-taking, yet wholly idiomatic realization of this masterpiece. Tiger Okoshi is a powerful presence on trumpet, reminiscent of how great Freddie Hubbard was on Coltrane’s Ascension; Caris Visentin plays several inspiring oboe solos; Cecil McBee is simply astonishing in his subtlety and understanding of the music. Along with Billy Hart, they augment Liebman’s regular group, rounded out by Tony Marino on fervent, muscular bass, and Vic Juris, who plays a mammoth guitar solo on “Consequences”. From its soul-searching levels of grandeur, to the solemn peace of its final seconds, performances like these are why this music is worth revisiting.” – Larry Nai, JAZZIZ

“…what frightens others is a challenge that Dave Liebman accepts with this CD…interpreting the music from Trane’s 1965 experiment “Meditations”. Very much a risk-taker, Liebman is someone who has often been willing to jump into a variety of challenging situations… this time he comes out on top. Liebman remains faithful to the spirit of this “outside” music but lets his own charm work its magic. This spiritual effort reveals more and more of its power and richness with each listen.“- Alex Henderson, L.A. Jazz Scene

“Is it necessary to rerecord a classic? Only if you put your own stamp on it – as saxophonist Liebman does…his passionate tenor playing…reminds us of his closer-than-most link to Coltrane’s legacy. Dual drummers Billy Hart and Jamey Haddad ignite a firestorm on “Consequences”.” – Art Lange, Pulse Magazine

David Liebman, long among the most fervent and effective of Trane’s musical offspring, brings all the right ingredients together in this performance. The leader’s tenor sax is vibrant throughout, an emotional anchor for the group as it works its inspiring way through this ever “of the moment” piece of history.” – Bill Bennett, JazzTimes

“…a superb tribute to ‘Trane from one of his musical legatees, saxophonist David Liebman. The live recording of the bramble-thick, intense, and mystical Meditations gives it a new life. Liebman and his A-team of jazz musicians exult in its power and play their souls out.” – Jared Rutter, Players

“…a reinvestigation of Coltrane’s earth-shattering 1965 “Meditations” suite. The music…to the ill-prepared to accept its fearsome profundity, is brought closer to the layman on Liebman’s sensitive Arkadia remake. Uncommon tenacity and discipline pervade Liebman’s persona, plus a soupcon of Brooklyn machismo; but at root is a man with a big heart seeking the answers to deeper questions through music.” – John MacCalkies, Chicago’s Newcity

“Liebman and his associates really get inside the music and become part of it. Liebman’s recording of the Coltrane work allows the music to be reborn and live anew, yet sound as audacious and spiritual as originally conceived. Meditations might shock you. But for those with a sense of adventure, this recording is the perfect antidote for the bland pabulum that passes for new music these days. It stays in the mind long after the music stops. For me, that is the benchmark of great art. It lingers and can be recalled.” – Bret Primack, Jazz Track- jazzcentralstation

“…those who may value what Coltrane has contributed to music’s vocabulary may content themselves with superior performances such as this one of his prominent works.” – Jack Bowers, www.allaboutjazz.com

About Dave Liebman:

As a teenager, when he first caught sight (and sound) of John Coltrane playing at New York’s famous Birdland Club, David Liebman fell instantly in love with jazz. A virtuoso on the soprano sax, and an innovative composer, Lieb’s attachment to jazz has always been something more than musical. The spirit behind the music and the community of musicians and listeners all figure into his life in jazz.

The Beginning with Elvin Jones and Miles Davis:

Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1946, Liebman grew up playing a variety of instruments and studying jazz with the likes of Lennie Tristano, Joe Allard, and Charles Lloyd. Just after graduating from NYU with a degree in American history, he helped to found Free Life Communication, a jazz musician’s co-operative. He also joined Ten Wheel Drive in 1970, one of the early jazz fusion/rock groups. After about two years with them, he moved to the saxophone/flute position in the group of legendary Coltrane drummer, Elvin Jones. In 1973, his apprenticeship reached its zenith when Miles Davis invited him to join his group.

Liebman’s Musical Groups:

His head constantly abubble with new ideas, Lieb has headed a number of groups, playing in a variety of styles. His first group, which he formed with Bob Moses in 1970, was called Open Sky Trio. In 1973, together with pianist Richard Beirach, he formed Lookout Farm, which toured the world, made several records, and garnered first place in Down Beat’s 1976 International Critic’s Poll in the category, Group Most Deserving of Wider Recognition. In 1981, together with Beirach, George Mraz, and Al Foster, he formed a group called Quest. Quest reached its peak between 1984 and 1991, after the addition of bassist Ron McClure and drummer Billy Hart.

When speaking of Dave Liebman it is impossible to overlook his faithful companion and the instrument of his passion — the soprano sax. Though he began his career playing all manner of horns, he decided at the end of the 70’s to dedicate himself exclusively to the soprano sax. Appreciative critics and fans have consistently listed him among the top five soprano saxophonists in the world. A number of European orchestras and chamber ensembles, with whom he has played and recorded, have commissioned works especially designed to capture unique brand of playing.

Educator and Clinician:

Lieb’s total commitment to jazz is manifest in the creation in 1989 of the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE), an organization with members in 40 different countries dedicated to connecting jazz teachers to students. His own erudition and talents as a teacher have made him much in demand at workshops and clinics around the world. On a regular basis, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which has honored him with grants for composition and performance, awards grants to musicians who wish to study with him.

Recordings with Arkadia Records:

And yet, even with all his organizational and pedagogical efforts, Lieb’s first love remains the music itself. He had recorded dozens of albums under his own name and was a featured sideman on nearly 200 others. Signaling his intention to focus his music making energies, he signed an exclusive recording agreement with New York’s Arkadia Jazz, recording four highly acclaimed albums, and appearing on several others. Together with the acclaimed David Liebman Group, he has recorded the album “New Vista”, which came out in early 1997. Other albums that Liebman has recorded for Arkadia Records are a recording of John Coltrane’s ethereal masterpiece, “Meditation Suite”, a joint project with guitarist Pat Metheny entitled “The Elements: Water” and “Dave Liebman Plays Puccini: A Walk in the Clouds”. Liebman received a Grammy Award Nomination for his performance of “My Favorite Things” on the album, “Arkadia Jazz All-Stars: Thank You, John (Our Tribute to John Coltrane)”.

In 2011, Dave Liebman was honored as a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Master. One of the jazz world’s most innovative and dedicated citizens, Liebman does not have to wrestle with the temptation to rest on his laurels—the thought has never occurred to him.

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