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 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 notable musicians, as well as such personal matters as contracting polio as a child. Featuring rare photos from Liebman's personal collection, this fascinating and witty story will not only appeal to jazz fans and scholars but also to those readers interested in the story of how a young man followed his dream to become one of the leading jazz artists of our time.
Dave Liebman was a founding member of New York City's "loft" jazz scene before securing a coveted role playing saxophone with John Coltrane's ex-drummer, Elvin Jones, and subsequently with legendary trumpeter Miles Davis and jazz pianist Chick Corea. Liebman was a founding member of the David Liebman Quintet, Quest, and other jazz groups. He is a recipient of the NEA Masters of Jazz in 2011, the Order of Arts and Letters - Officer grade - France in 2009, and an honorary doctorate of music from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland in 1997. Lewis Porter is a jazz pianist, composer, and author. He has served as professor of music at Rutgers University in Newark since 1986, and he is the university's founder and director of the Master's Program in Jazz History and Research.