A generous grant has been awarded by the Northampton (Mass.) Arts Council in partial support of the recording of a new CD from saxophonist and flutist Paul Lieberman.
With a working title of Ibeji, the CD will be an artistic exploration of musical nature vs. nurture," looking at the musics of Brazil and the United States as twin children of Mother Africa, who were separated at birth and sent off to live and grow in different parts of the world. Multi-talented musician/producer Joel A. Martin is collaborating with Paul to bring this project to life.
After earning his BA in Music at Yale University, Paul's initial apprenticeship in Brazilian music came via Thiago de Mello and his New York-based Brazilian big band Amazon, featuring Claudio Roditi. The band included Dick Oatts, Bryan Lynch, and Conrad Herwig with the Brazilian rhythm section of pianist Marcos Silva, bassist Sergio Brandão, and drummer Duduka da Fonseca.
Paul soon revealed an uncanny feel for Brazilian music which the pianist Silva nurtured, with the understanding deepening during an extraordinary 2 years of living and touring with Brazilian Jazz legends Airto & Flora Purim and an all-Brazilian band which also included Brazilian guitarist Sergio Dias of the historic group Os Mutantes."
Afterwards, Paul was invited by Dias to move to Rio de Janeiro and perform in the debut national jazz festival there, and he stayed on for four years as Brazil's first-call player, recording and performing with many of that country's stars and most of its greatest musicians, marrying his Brazilian wife of 25 years, and learning to speak fluent Portuguese.
After returning to the U.S., Paul earned his Masters in Jazz Composition and Arranging at UMass Amherst. While there, a class on African music from Yoruba PhD ethnomusicologist Olabode Omojola, and the preparation of his Masters Composition Recital under the guidance of professor, mentor, and friend Jeffrey Wayne Holmes, helped crystallize Paul's vision for this CD.
Ibeji" is the Yoruba word for twins." The special place twins occupy in the Yoruba belief system was carried to Brazil by African slaves and became an integral part of Brazilian culture, celebrated in the annual festival of Cosme e Damião, twin patron saints of children.
The album is scheduled for release in early 2011.