What Is Ad Lib?

In sheet music, ad lib is an abbreviation of ad libitum which in Latin means at one’s pleasure. Musicians know Ad Lib to mean improvise or play freely. In Ad Lib I will blog on my experiences thoughts, feelings and insights in the pursuit of creativity in music, art and life.  Please read About Joseph Liberti for more information about me and the ad lib blog

As I write this post I am listening to Two Lonely People from the album: Bill Evans and Stan Getz – But Beautiful. The album also features bassist Eddie Gómez and drummer Marty Morell.  The video has some beautiful performances from jazz masters.

As I listen I notice all the new things I hear now that I did not recognize so clearly before. I am reminded how much we can learn from the masters whether our discipline is jazz music or painting or whatever. 

I also notice that as I learn and develop my musical skills to a greater degree how I am able to listen with “new ears” which leads me to new appreciation for the art and the artists. And, after listening to many repetitions of this album, the unique language and expression of the artists being to show up in my music performance and in my writing. 

If you are  into jazz you may love this album. If not chose your artist and try seeing with “new eyes” or hearing with “new ears.” Let the experience inspire and inform your art and life. 

I will pin the post to the top of the blog as a way to introduce Ad Lib to new readers. 

Be well and happy …and interested.

Joseph

The Best Jazz Musician You Never Hear Of?

Hazel Scott may be the best jazz musician you never heard of.

Amazing Hazel ScottBorn in Trinidad, Hazel was raised on music. Her whole family played and her mother, Alma, an aspiring concert pianist, taught music to help make ends meet. Unbeknownst to her family, Hazel Scott absorbed everything she heard until one day she woke her grandmother from a nap by playing a familiar hymn on the piano, two-handed and with perfect pitch. Her grandmother woke thinking, not wrongly, that she was witnessing a miracle. Her story is a fascinating bit of jazz history. Read her extraordinary story  at Naritive.ly

Watch the video below to experience her ability and great style as a vocalist and pianist.

Synergy

An Extraordinary Experience of Synergy

Last night at our gig we had an extraordinary experience of synergy. After the trauma of relocating indoors to escape the rain, we started warming into our groove.  People enjoyed us and we had fun. By the third set, when many of the patrons were heading home we had built up a full head of steam. The remaining folks gathered around the band to just listen. We musicians, anchored by relationship and trust turned loose and became exuberantly creative. The more we opened up the more the listeners became engaged, and they and we, all became part of the music performance. The music was over the moon. It was the kind of experience musicians live for and fans leave home in any weather to go be a part of.  I awakened this morning thinking, that is what life can be when we are not divided by fear but rather united in joyous celebration of being.

Joseph Liberti 

United We Swing

UNITED WE SWING by the Wynton Marsalis Septet and Special Guests

United We Swing is an appropriate thought for July 4th and a wonderful album from Jazz At Lincoln Center.

Check this out! You will love it! I am not affiliated with Jazz At Lincoln Center but love their music and support of jazz! The following content is from Jazz At Lincoln Center.

These one-night-only, live performances have never been released before. Recorded between 2003 and 2007, United We Swing—the latest album from Blue Engine Records—finds an unparalleled array of music talent that collectively boasts 94 Grammy Awards joining Jazz at Lincoln Center Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis (a nine-time Grammy Award winner himself) and some of the world’s top jazz musicians to perform blues-inflected versions of iconic American repertoire.

Here’s where to listen to the album samples and order the music:

Order the album: jazz.org/united

Listen to samples or buy on iTunes Music

These one-night-only, live performances have never been released before. They include Lenny Kravitz performing Marsalis’s hypnotizing, New Orleans-inflected arrangement of Kravitz’s own song, “Are You Gonna Go My Way”; Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks uniting for a stirring, infectious take on Civil Rights anthem “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free”; Bob Dylan adding harmonica licks to a deeply felt, in-the-pocket rendition of “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry”; and Ray Charles taking the stage for one of his final performances to play “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town.”

Together these artists raise their voices to highlight jazz’s importance to America’s cultural heritage and to remind us that, even in divided times, music can unite us all. All proceeds from the album will go toward Jazz at Lincoln Center’s education programs, which introduce thousands of children to jazz each year.

Celebrate Independence Day with the sound of America swinging together!

The Wynton Marsalis Septet’s acclaimed, star-studded United We Swing is out now as a double-disc, audiophile set—and from now through Sunday, you can use the code “HAPPYFOURTH” to receive 20% off United We Swing and all other vinyl albums available at Jazz At Lincoln Center online store.

Track listing:
1. The Last Time feat. Blind Boys of Alabama
2. It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry feat. Bob Dylan
3. I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town feat. Ray Charles
4. I’m Not Rough feat. Eric Clapton
5. Creole Love Call feat. Audra McDonald
6. Milk Cow Blues feat. Willie Nelson
7. I’m Gonna Find Another You feat. John Mayer
8. My Baby Don’t Tolerate feat. Lyle Lovett
9. The Worst Thing feat. Natalie Merchant
10. Please Baby Don’t feat. John Legend
11. Mean Old Man feat. James Taylor
12. Are You Gonna Go My Way feat. Lenny Kravitz
13. Fool’s Paradise feat. Jimmy Buffett
14. Empty Bed Blues feat. Carrie Smith
15. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free feat. Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks
16. What Have You Done?

Thank you Jazz At Lincoln Center for this fabulous music and for all you do to support jazz!!

Grass Whispers, Walls Sing

Grass Whispers, Walls Sing and I write Music.

Prairie Grass Inspires MusicPeople have asked me about how I create music. “Do you start with a melody or a rhythm or a mood,” They ask. The answer is, it varies. It could be any or all of those things and especially when grass whispers or walls sing.

My music is inspired by nature, art and life experience. When I consider my composing experience, I notice that a number of my songs have written themselves in my head as I hike in the morning. I think that the hiking and the centering effects of being in nature produce a kind of walking meditation. In that kind of altered state I hear the sounds of grass and trees and rocks. I feel the rhythms. Often I write a complete piece when I get back to my home studio. My composition Morning Meadow wrote itself after a hike.  My new piece Prairie Frost is a vivid example of nature speaking to me.

A similar change in consciousness occurs when I visit a gallery, stand before a painting and focus all  my attention on the sound that painting is making. I can hear the slashes of color as notes and sometimes chords. I feel the rhythms of music that the shapes lead me to. I need to be patient when listening but if I am attentive and focused, eventually the walls sing with music.  My recent composition Wednesday Blue was composed immediately after sitting with the painting Esspressivo by Suz Stovall for a quiet time.

Recently I have been composing pieces of music that come from a physical/emotional experience of life. Bela Bela was composed as I was reliving the experience of a Bela Fleck concert the morning after. What To Do? was written right after a morning walk when I was revisiting a vivid spiritual experience of the night before.

All of the original pieces that I will perform with the FluteDaddy quartet during The LifeJazz Show on May six originated in these kinds of experiences. All have interesting stories and I will are them with you. Join me?

Joseph Liberti

Branford Marsalis Lights Up The Ent Center

Branford Marsalis with his quartet lit up the ENT Center for the Arts last night with a brilliant performance to a sold out house.

Branford Marsalis QuartetLast night at The ENT center Branford Marsalis showed us why he is three-time Grammy Award® winner and has been cited as “arguably the most respected living U.S. jazz instrumentalist”. Each of the musicians showed their mastery in playing that was both technically  brilliant and creatively inspired. The  program included some challenging new avant-garde jazz that demonstrated how jazz is ever-changing, alive and exciting. Then with perfect timing the group included stellar performances of two familiar standards – Sunny Side Of The Street and St James Infirmary that brought the audience to its feet.

Going to a concert of this quality is beyond entertaining it is revitalizing. Engaging art is one of the ways that we renew ourselves, boost our creativity, and move ourselves to the “sunny side of the street.” Take the opportunity when you can.

The Ent Center For The Arts

The Ent Center for the Arts is a transformational performing and visual arts complex on the UCCS Campus. This 92,000 square-foot building features four performing arts venues and a visual arts gallery. We are so fortunate to have this outstanding facility in Colorado Springs. It is easily  accessible, has convenient free parking and most importantly is brining in world class talent. If you have not been there, do check it out! You can still get tickets for Catherine Russell for Thursday nite.

CATHERINE RUSSELLThursday 4-19.

Catherine Russell is that rarest of entities—a genuine jazz and blues singer—who can sing virtually anything. Her dusky, stalwart, and soulful voice radiates power as she launches fearlessly into each tune, getting inside the melody and capturing every emotion. With an off-the beaten-path song selection, sparkling acoustic swing, and a stunning vocal approach, Catherine Russell joins the ranks of the greatest interpreters and performers of American popular song.

ENT Center Tickets

Joseph Liberti

What To Do?

Here’s a full-length sample of my new tune What To Do?

To create the sample I used digital instruments to play the score as a backing track and recorded myself playing along on flute. When we perform the song with the FluteDaddy quartet you will also hear additional improvised solos on piano and bass.

What To Do? is  is a happy, bouncy tune that will premiere at our LifeJazz concert May 6 and I’ll share the story of its origin at the concert, but there was an interesting effect of writing the song that I’ll share here.

I was looking for solutions to problems when I wrote this piece. When I completed it I was flooded with creativity, new solutions and renewed confidence. Over the years I have noticed this effect before, in me and in my clients. When we take up any creative activity we tap in to our deeper self and become more resourceful and resilient. The next time you a feel stuck, do something creative. Paint, dance, take photos or something else you love. It doesn’t matter how good you are at it or that you have not done it in a long time. Just engaging the activity will access more of your authentic self and will free some new energy. Try it. Need ideas? This article about drawing might help.

Come join us for The LifeJazz Show on May 6th for music and story that will please your ears and lift your spirits.

Tickets are here:

Women In Jazz

Women In Jazz – an enjoyable program from Margaret Howze available free in Jazz Profiles from NPR.

“Women have been involved with jazz since its inception, but all too often their acheivements are not as well-known or trumpeted, so to speak, as those of their male counterparts. Of course we have Billie, Ella, and Sarah, but there are so many more — singers, instrumentalists and composers — that have made a worthy pantheon,”  says Howze in her opening paragraph. Then she follow with bios and music samples from well known and not so well know musicians. This is a very enjoyable two part series.

Expand your knowledge, be inspired – check it out and enjoy.