The Lighthouse Project
Friday, April 21, 2023, 7:30 pm
Gene Perla | acoustic double bass
Dave Liebman | sax
Jerry Bergonzi |sax
Adam Nussbaum | drums
50 years ago, “Elvin Jones & Four Men” was the album that swung Jazz into the 70’s. It made a big, bold sound that featured Gene Perla and Dave Liebman in those historic sessions. Now, they are joined by modern jazz masters – a powerful quartet to mark the anniversary of this landmark album.
The Lighthouse Project is a very new group that is playing the repertoire that Gene Perla and I did with Elvin Jones in the early 70s. People really want to hear intense burning, taking no prisoners, play with balls music. We (and myself very included) think complexity is a necessity. But playing on an A minor chord with some swinging quarter notes from the bass and a ride beat that lifts off the ground does go right to the heart of the matter. And the heart is basic swinging, burning solo statements from everyone for the entire set with music that is conducive to that kind of attitude. The specter of Trane and the Classic Quartet does rise in this regard and after all Elvin was the caboose that drove that engine. What a privilege to have had a minute with Jones back then. It formed the rhythmical basis of my playing for sure. My appreciation to Adam Nussbaum who plays more like Elvin than anyone else on the planet, knowing when to rise, fall, all towards telling the story; to Gates (Gene Perla) for his commitment to every beat and the spirit of this music; and to Jerry Bergonzi who absolutely burns every solo. Great band!
Master David Liebman’s career has spanned nearly five decades, beginning in the early 1970s as the saxophone/flautist in both the Elvin Jones and Miles Davis Groups, continuing as a bandleader since. He has played on over five hundred recordings with nearly two hundred under his leadership and co-leadership. In jazz education he 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 multiple languages), in addition to teaching DVDs, journalistic contributions to periodicals and published chamber music.
Lieb‘s autobiography What It Is-The Life Of A Jazz Artist (Scarecrow Press) is a fascinating look into Lieb’s career. His bands over the years have included noted musicians such as John Scofield, Richie Beirach, Bob Moses, Billy Hart and others.
Lieb is the Founder and Artistic Director of the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ) existing since 1989, which is a worldwide network of schools from nearly 40 countries. Liebman’s awards, besides the NEA honor include the Jazz Educators Network (JEN) Legends of Jazz (2013); the Order of Arts and Letters (France 2009); Jazz Journalist’s award for Soprano Saxophone (2007); Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Solo (1998); Honorary Doctorate from the Sibelius Academy (Finland-1997).
He is currently teaching at the New York University and a guest lecturer at Berklee College of Music. Dave has consistently placed in the top positions for Soprano Saxophone in the Downbeat, Jazz Times and JazzEd polls since 1973.
Tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi is an internationally recognized jazz performer, composer, author, and educator.
Bergonzi has performed throughout the world at all the major jazz festivals and jazz venues, with his own ensembles as well as with numerous jazz greats. His music is renowned for its innovation, mastery, and integrity. His discography includes more than 60 recordings, notably Standard Gonz with the Jerry
Bergonzi Quartet on the Blue Note label; he also has 60 recorded song titles registered with ASCAP.
As a clinician Bergonzi has taught at conservatories and music schools throughout the U.S. and Europe. He is the author of a series of instructional books with play-along CDs and videos, entitled Inside Improvisation, published by Advance Music (seven volumes: Melodic Structures, Pentatonics, Jazz Line, Melodic Rhythms, Thesaurus of Intervallic Melodies, Developing a Jazz Language, and Hexatonics), as well as the book/CD set Sound Advice. The Inside Improvisation series is now available in French, German, and Italian translations.
Bergonzi is a three-time NEA grant recipient.
Gene Perla grew up in northeastern New Jersey attending public school grades 1-12. After one year of post graduate study at New York Militarjgvzy Academy he entered the University of Toledo majoring in civil engineering and business. He then attended Berklee School of Music and Boston Conservatory before heading to New York City.
At age five Gene’s musical studies began with classical piano. Upon entering high school he was given a trombone which he played for five years culminating in marching on Fifth Avenue in New York City as part of the Memorial Day Parade. During high school he became aware of jazz and was thrilled to attend the first New York performance of Ted Heath’s big band at Carnegie Hall. It wasn’t until his last year at TU that his interest in music became primary.
After struggling with too many notes, and thanks to Charlie Haden’s performance on Ornette Coleman’s "The Shape Of Jazz To Come,” Perla, at 24, switched to the bass as his main instrument. Not long after arriving in the City his talents became in demand and he found joy in performing with artists such as Willie
As an educator Mr. Perla has taught at William Paterson University, New School University, Center for the Media Arts and is currently at Lehigh University. Sound design has been a significant endeavor yielding credits on Broadway shows, theme parks and custom installations.
Having a business sense, Gene has continuously expanded his activities to include music publishing, record labels, recording studios, promotional firms, Internet design and hosting and computer networking businesses as vehicles for his ideas.
Adam Nussbaum is considered one of the finest drummers working today. He's played with a virtual "Who's Who" in the jazz world. Longtime associates have included: John Abercrombie, Michael & Randy Brecker, Eliane Elias, Gil Evans, Stan Getz, Vic Juris, James Moody, John Scofield, Joe Sample, Ohad Talmor, ‘Toots' Thielemans, Kenny Wheeler & NHØP, as well as freelancing with prominent artists of every generation, being a major asset no matter where he appears.
Nussbaum has recently formed the Lead Belly Project. He has also joined forces with other musicians to form such groups as “BANN” w/Seamus Blake, Jay Anderson & Oz Noy, “We3” w/Dave Liebman & Steve Swallow, "The Impossible Gentlemen" w/Gwilym Simcock, Steve Rodby & Mike Walker, “The Nuttree Quartet" w/John Abercrombie, Jerry Bergonzi & Gary Versace and "The ZZ Quartet w/Ratko Zjaca, Simone Zanchini & Martin Gjakanovski. He's been on hundreds of recordings, including the Grammy winning "Don't Try This At Home” recorded with Michael Brecker.
In addition, Nussbaum reaches out to the next generation. He is an in-demand educator doing Clinics and Master Classes, teaching at such institutions as Berklee, NYU, State University of New York, the New School, and at numerous Conservatories around the world.
His abilities have brought opportunities for him to work with the finest makers of all things drum-related. Working with Sonor drums, he helped design a line in the “HiLite” series. In conjunction with Zildjian cymbals, Nussbaum helped developed the “Renaissance” & "Pre-Aged” K. Zildjian cymbals. He also coproduced with Hudson Music, "The Art of Playing Brushes."
He was born in New York City and grew up in Norwalk, Connecticut and started to play drums at age 12 after studying piano for five years; he also playing bass and saxophone as a teenager. He moved to New York City in 1975 to attend The Davis Center for Performing Arts at City College. He eventually focused on drums.