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Dave Liebman is one of the leading forces in contemporary jazz. Prominently known for performing with Miles Davis and Elvin Jones, he has exerted considerable influence as a saxophonist, bandleader, composer, author, and educator. In addition to his recent recognition as a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, he has received the Order of Arts and Letters from France and holds an honorary doctorate from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. He has mentored many of today’s most notable young jazz musicians worldwide and is a prolific writer on jazz.
In What It Is: The Life of a Jazz Artist, friend, pianist, and noted jazz scholar Lewis Porter conducts a series of in-depth interviews with Liebman, who discusses his professional, personal, and musical relationships with Davis and Jones, as well as such notable musicians as Chick Corea, Richie Beirach, Michael and Randy Brecker, and many others. Through the interviews, Liebman discusses such personal matters as contracting polio as a child and the difficulties it caused as an adult during his rise as a jazz musician. He offers insights into the life of jazz performers of his generation, particularly the tumultuous period of the 1960s and 1970s. The book also features rare photos from Liebman’s personal collection. A fascinating and witty storyteller, Liebman’s stories in What It Is will appeal to jazz fans and scholars by providing a firsthand look into the creative life of one of America’s leading jazz musicians.