David Liebman and Fusion Both Honored by Jazz Prize
WHEN the National Endowment for the Arts gives the 2011 N.E.A. Jazz Masters Award to the saxophonist David Liebman in January, it will represent more to him than a personal achievement. It will also mark the establishment's de facto validation of the fusion aesthetic, he said, because few, if any, of the 118 other award recipients since 1982 have been as strongly identified with fusion and its challenge to mainstream jazz conventions as he has.
It got a really bad rap for years, the fusion thing, no question about it. Miles got killed for it," he said, referring to Miles Davis. Suddenly it's become the holy grail. 'Oh boy, he was there before everyone.' Of course he was. We knew that."
Mr. Liebman's defense of 1970s fusion will be reflected in his appearances over the next few months, including one on Sept. 19 at the Turning Point in Piermont. He and his longtime working bandVic Juris on guitar, Tony Marino on electric bass and Marko Marcinko on drumswill be employing more of the tone and textures he developed nearly 40 years ago with his own groups, like Lookout Farm, and the Davis-led bands that recorded On the Corner" and Get Up With It