Featuring David Liebman/Sax, Bobby Avey/Piano, Matt Vashlishan/Reeds, Tony Marino/Bass and Alex Ritz/Drums
Liebman continues the time-tested tradition of master/apprentice, as he experienced it in the 70’s with Elvin Jones and Miles Davis, by reaching across generations to teach and to learn.
“The Puzzle”, EXPANSION’S new recording on the Whaling City Sound label centers on the construction skills of the group. Each one is a heavy lifter…… a puzzle solver. As the tracks unfold, elements are scattered. Pieces find their place in the scheme. It comes together and the puzzle gets an opportunity to shine.
Understanding the concept of The Puzzle, Lieb’s second “new” group recording is simple: “Improvising is a matter of solving a puzzle.”
DAVID LIEBMAN (soprano saxophone, wooden flute)
David Liebman’s career has spanned over four decades, beginning in the 1970s as the saxophone/flautist in both the Elvin Jones and Miles Davis Groups, continuing as a leader since. He has played on nearly three hundred recordings with over one hundred under his leadership or co-leadership. Liebman is a renowned lecturer and author of several milestone books: Self Portrait Of A Jazz Artist, A Chromatic Approach To Jazz Harmony And Melody, Developing A Personal Saxophone Sound, translated into several languages, He is the Founder and Artistic Director of the International Association of Schools of Jazz. Awards include 2013 Jazz Educators Network Legend of Jazz, 2011 NEA Masters of Jazz (2011); 2009 Order of Arts and Letters (France); 2007 Jazz Journalist’s award for Soprano Saxophone; 1998 Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Solo; 1997 Honorary Doctorate from the Sibelius Academy (Finland). He is currently Artist in Residence at the Manhattan School of Music and has consistently placed in the top three places for Soprano Saxophone in the Downbeat Critic’s Poll since 1973.
BOBBY AVEY (piano/keyboards)
Praised by the New Yorker Magazine as a “ young pianist of invention and refinement,” Bobby Avey has established himself as an emerging star in the jazz community. Avey received the New Jazz Works Commissioning and Ensemble Development Grant from Chamber Music America, creating an hour-long suite grounded in rhythms of traditional Voudoo drumming. “Authority Melts From Me” pays homage to the Haitian Revolution and premiered featuring another rising voice on saxophone, Miguel Zenon with guitarist Ben Monder.
”Avey isn’t laying claim to an ancestral heritage, but rather digging into a tradition outside his experience, with scholarly enthusiasm.” – The New York Times
MATT VASHLISHAN (alto sax, flute, clarinet)
Matt has performed with Phil Woods, Bruce Hornsby, Patty Austin, Nester Torres, among others. His large ensemble credentials include the Phil Woods Big Band, Michael Feinstein Orchestra, the Charles Tolliver Big Band and Larry Rosen’s “Jazz Roots” including solo and ensemble work on “An Evening with Dave Grusin.” Matt has released two CDs under his own leadership and co-authored with David Liebman on several publications available through Jamey Aebersold Jazz.
ALEX RITZ (drums/frame drum)
Alex studied with jazz drum legend Billy Hart and multi-percussionist Jamey Hadda. He spent two years living in Shanghai, China, performing styles from jazz to Afrobeat, including collaborations with players of traditional Chinese instruments. He appeared at festivals in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland. Now in New York, he has been featured on several recordings, including Rafiq Bhatia’s Yes It Will, listed among the Best Jazz Albums of 2012 by The New York Times, Village Voice and Jazz Times.
TONY MARINO (electric and acoustic bass)
Tony’s decades of experience range from folk, rock, country, bebop to free jazz. His credits range from Mose Allison to Phil Woods while his association with Dave Liebman extends well over twenty years and dozens of recordings and tours worldwide. As Lieb describes Tony: “I may have said three words to Tony about how or what to play in these years. He is the most instinctive musician I have known…something realized by all who hear him.”