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Dave Liebman Big Band

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner

Dave Liebman Big Band
(Dave Liebman Website)

At Birdland
315 West 44th Street, NYC
Gianni Valenti, Owner
Tarik Osman, Manager

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 19, 2005

This 19-piece orchestra, led by the renowned Dave Liebman on saxophone, was introduced with flutes, piccolo, and a guitar. A melodic, abstract, and energetic piece unfolded, with Liebman on his fancy saxophone, as flutes played a repetitive theme, and New Vista blazed with a burst of soaring sound. When to Love was led by Jim Ridl (See Jim Ridl's CD Review)on Bösendorfer and electric pianos at once, soulful and amplified, as the electric provided an abstract foundation to the melodic piano. Liebman plays and conducts in harmony, and the bass solos were repeated up and down the scale. This big band likes to build crescendos that bounce off the ceiling, furious and fiery, immediately followed by momentary mellow effects, with two saxophones merging to a finale.

The next piece featured drums in a wild Be-Bop and a hint of Swing. A titanic trumpet in the rear joined Liebman and other saxophones in contrasting and connecting conversations. There was strong backup from percussion before the full big band. Beyond the Line was opened with Liebman on wooden flute, Latin in mood. A brilliant blast of abstract saxophone was super-imposed on piano and guitar, “and the melody lingered on”. Done with Restraint included hypnotic percussion, bells, and New Age sounds. Jim Ridl added a raindrop effect on piano, as the bass bent to the sax, tripping with flutes, in an eclectic combination.

Sing, Sing, Sing, in an unusual version from traditional Swing, was interesting and fun. Every note, every phrase, was bent out of proportion, over the edge of imagination. Suddenly, a haze of musical abstraction provided the steady Sing, Sing, Sing percussive riff, ever so long, ever so lively. A wild conversation ensued with Liebman’s sax interwoven with the entire orchestra, as they answered him in rapid response. Nineteen instruments played as one. Liebman finally extended the final note to the ultimate, with the orchestra in four-note response, followed by Samba rhythms to Sing, Sing, Sing, a serendipitous surprise.

Check the Birdland Website for future Dave Liebman Big Band dates.

Dave Liebman and His Big Band
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Dave Liebman Big Band
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Dave Liebman Big Band
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Jim Ridl on Piano
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Dave Liebman Big Band
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Jim Ridl and Hilliard Greene, Guest
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at