“From our observations as well as from student surveys, it is clear that Paul has developed a very good rapport with each group…They find him to be ‘kind, funny, friendly, helpful, respectful, and patient’ and so did we.
We were, in fact, quite amazed by his patience, unflappability, and sense of humor. His enjoyment of them is clear and so is his enthusiasm. He is frequently affirming them by saying things like, ‘You’re making music now!’ and ‘This is very beautiful!’. He enjoys their humor and they enjoy his. When he does have to scold them, he does so respectfully with pleases and thank yous, modeling both civility and high expectations.
Student feedback meshes with our observations. Here are some direct quotations from his middle school musicians:
‘He is engaging and really connects with us.’
‘It’s obvious that he works exceptionally hard and really cares about Wind Ensemble.’
‘Mr. Lieberman is fun but strict when he needs to be.’
‘He helps those in need in ways that fit their learning styles.’
‘He selects a very diverse range of music that definitely influences how he teaches.’
One of his peers credits Paul’s success to the empowering effect he has on other people, including students.
‘He is a naturally engaging person who makes you feel empowered and interesting. He is a Renaissance man with a wide breadth of experience and knowledge, and he is always willing to share stories. He is warm and welcoming. Thanks to these attributes, he is certainly getting the best out of his students, and he has earned respect and admiration from all of us.’
‘Paul is incredibly thoughtful, compassionate, and brilliant. He possesses not only a great talent for creating and producing his own music, but teaching music to young people here at Nobles. Like so many of our wonderful colleagues, his knowledge of and passion for his subject run deep, and the relationships he forms with his students teach them about so much more than they bargained for.’
Clearly, in a relatively short span of time, Paul has garnered the affection and respect of his peers in this community…Fellow teachers describe him as ‘disarming, brilliant, accessible, engaged, interesting, supportive, thoughtful, collaborative, calm and cool.’
They applaud his ability to remain a vibrant and successful professional outside of Nobles while also doing such a good job with our musicians while he is here. His ability to achieve that balance is remarkable.
‘His interest in certain African percussive rhythms and their influence in Brazilian and Caribbean music as well as that music’s subsequent influence on North American music evinces a commitment to Diversity. He is eager to educate our community about that influence, to reveal it, and to pay homage to it in its various forms. Judging from the regard in which he seems to be held by the band he assembled for assembly last year, his life models a commitment to diversity and to communicating and celebrating across ethnic and national lines what we have in common.’
Another peer sums up Paul’s impact with the following: ‘students of Paul Lieberman learn to be better musicians and to push their creative limits, but more importantly, to empathize, consider other perspectives, and be kind. Paul leads by his gentle example, and is a caring colleague, teacher and friend. His profound and sincere interest in other cultures, particularly African-American culture, has opened many of our eyes through his enthusiasm and desire to share what he is learning…I have also seen the deeper ways in which Paul supports colleagues of color in trying times, in genuine brotherhood and with great humility.’
–Highlights of Paul’s 2016 evaluation at Noble and Greenough School
“Paul is a world-class professional musician. As a performer, Paul’s reputation had preceded him, prior to meeting him on a recording project with a mutual acquaintance. We have since recorded his project resulting in the critically acclaimed commercial CD “Ibeji.” During the days of recording, Paul exhibited virtuoso technique on the flute and tenor saxophone, while being a very delightfully humble individual. His ability to communicate with all of the musicians with ease was impressive. In the real market place, Paul is exemplary being able to function as a jazz performer, a recording artist in various genres. To be a successful jazz player requires passion, creativeness, emotion, intellect, functional knowledge, perseverance, and patience, as exemplified by the Master practitioners. Paul possesses all the attributes… When you combine all his abilities, he would be that individual that any institution would surely want and certainly should need.””
–Rufus Reid, Jazz Bassist, Composer, Professor Emeritus, William Paterson University
“We wish to thank you for the invitation to attend the performance of VOYAGES ON THE BLACK ATLANTIC on January 13, at Science Park High School. As representatives of NJPAC’s Arts Education department, we were very excited to see such a high-quality performance given for the students in Newark. Not only was it exciting to see students from Arts High School and American History High School perform alongside your group of world-class musicians [Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band PLUS], it was amazing to see how engaged and excited the students in the audience were! It was a very successful performance given to an energy-filled auditorium! The generosity of your time and sharing your gift of music is greatly appreciated. I’m sure the students came away from the performance feeling quite inspired. Many thanks and congratulations. Warmly, Becky.”
–Rebecca Hinkle – Director, Arts Education, NJ Performing Arts Center
“I am the Director of the Northampton Arts Council. We have produced the popular performing art series 4 Sundays in February at the historic Academy of Music Theater for the past 22 years. The series is an eclectic mix of shows, which we occasionally bring into schools on the following Monday. A goal of mine was to produce an event that focuses on the music of New Orleans and had the feel of Mardi Gras. After experiencing Paul Lieberman’s Ibeji concert which imagined Brazilian music and American Jazz as twin children of Mother Africa, separated at birth and sent off to grow up in distant parts of the world, the idea of Mardival began to form. Paul and I met and began envisioning the event as a twin celebration of Mardi Gras and Rio’s Carnival. Paul was perfectly positioned and skilled to make this happen in a deep, explorative way. He had years of playing Brazilian music and experiencing Carnival first hand in Brazil. He also is a member of Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band featuring the legendary drummer of the Allman Brothers Band. Jaimoe grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi and was schooled in the New Orleans style at an early age. Paul pulled together a stunning array of musicians who created an amazing conceptual performance for the public at the Academy of Music Theater. 24 ” of snow that weekend didn’t prevent the show from being a sell-out and a must-see event. The show for the students was even more impressive. Paul was able to educate and entertain. My daughter who was a senior at the school said the assembly was like none other she had been to throughout her years at the school. She listened to a complex and thoughtful analysis of race and culture that went far beyond anything she had ever learned in class. She was surprised. Paul is onto something special with this project. As it develops it will become a model on how to use culture to educate.”
–Bob Cilman, Executive Director of the Northampton Arts Council, Massachusetts, Founder and Director of the Young@Heart Chorus
“I live in Maplewood, New Jersey, just a couple of miles from the Newark border. My town is progressive, thoughtful, cultured – and has minimal interaction with the large urban city down the street. It is a conundrum I have puzzled over for years, wondering how to bridge these two worlds.
I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that one of my musical idols – Jaimoe, founding member of the Allman Brothers Band and a man who was deeply helpful in my research writing One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band – would be appearing at a Newark high school.
I was bowled over by what I discovered there. Paul Lieberman, the saxophonist in Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, was running an extended presentation about the history of African American music for the assembled students – and the packed auditorium was listening with rapt attention. As the program unfolded, I was struck by how Paul and the entire program retained the student’s interest. By the final song, when kids were invited onstage, they rushed up and danced with abandon. The whole project seemed to be the perfect blend of fun and education. I am absolutely certain that a good portion of the audience was deeply impacted by the day.
I have spent a lot of time puzzling over how to build bonds between worlds and I was struck by this success. I look forward to seeing the Voyages program grow and expand. I believe it has tremendous potential to educate and inspire and more importantly to bridge divides.”
–Alan Paul, bestselling author of One Way Out and Texas Flood
“It was my greatest pleasure to invite Paul to play as our guest artist with the Northeastern Concert Band in April 2014…His musicianship continues to amaze me every time I have the opportunity to hear him play. His saxophone playing is soulful, evocative, and immediately transports the listener to a different place. My favourite thing to do when Paul is playing is to find the people in the room that are hearing him for the first time, especially when he picks up the Piccolo. You haven’t heard the piccolo played until you’ve heard Paul play it! My students were in awe of his musical ability, and were so thankful for the opportunity to share the stage with him. The audience was unanimous in their praise, saying it was the best concert they’d been to, and that Paul was the best guest we’ve yet brought in. An extremely kind and giving educator, I enthusiastically recommend Paul Lieberman to perform with your ensemble in any situation where musicianship and inspiration are valued.”
–John Leonard, Assistant Dir. of Bands, Northeastern University
“There are a lot of excellent technicians in the world. Many of these also have enough understanding of music to be capable of playing well with others. Of these, some actually make it an enjoyable and satisfying experience for those others. However, no other musician I have worked with has made me feel so good about my own personal relationship with music, or feel so comfortable with my own capabilities. None have done more to elevate my own awe and wonder at the miracle of music, perhaps humankind’s greatest invention. I have never learned so much about music – not just the theory and practice, the studio- and stage-craft, but the meaning and spirit – as when I was working with Paul.
Paul’s a consummate professional, disciplined, hard-working, exacting, capable of playing anything. He’s also got a brilliant mind, able to discern, explore and explain the ideas in music, even when they are subtle, elusive or even hidden. But ultimately he’s a beautiful spirit, able to discern and share the feelings of music, and because of his humility and grace, he is able to help others open up and experience music in new and profound ways.”
–Patrick S. Noonan, Management & decision sciences professor (emeritus), Goizueta Business School at Emory University
“Paul Lieberman’s clinic proved to be a highlight of the 2012 Syracuse Jazz Fest Education Program. Drawing on his experience in music education, Paul was able to get right down to the level of the students in the audience and deliver meaningful, relevant, and eminently useable information designed to improve their understanding and performance of America’s music: jazz. For over an hour, he held the students in rapt attention as he both challenged and motivated them on their journey toward becoming better musicians. It was a thrill for me to see the student’s reactions: many told me afterward that they were truly inspired and “charged up” by Paul’s presentation. My only regret is that we only had an hour to give him!”
–Steve Frank, Syracuse Jazz Fest Education Program Director
“I was privileged to work with Paul Lieberman on planning and implementing a professional development day for thirty K-12 educators on Brazilian culture, music and dance and its African and European roots. Paul played a vital role in designing the program and inviting other musicians. He masterfully introduced Brazilian history, musical forms and multiple traditions in a well-organized professional manner. What impressed the participants the most was that this person who had just provided a scholarly presentation, also was an incredible musician who interacted with two Brazilian musicians in their native Portuguese and with the teachers to bring alive so many styles of music and to demonstrate unfamiliar instruments. I can honestly recommend Paul regardless of whether you are seeking a musical performance, a lecture or both. Paul also created an online site so they will be able to easily take their new knowledge back to their schools. Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, Creative”
–Peter Gilmartin, Program Director at Primary Source,Watertown, MA
“Paul spent a full day working with a group of instrumental teachers from our area on improvisation. There were teachers there that are experienced jazz musicians and others who are much less confident. I had experienced and non-experienced jazz musicians say that they wish they could have had a whole week with Paul. The day was well organized, and Paul also welcomed questions and discussion throughout which really gave everyone a chance to reflect and discuss their own struggles and experiences. The whole group greatly appreciated his demeanor and experience. We also loved having him demonstrate the many topics that we discussed on his instrument. The ability to attempt playing on our own instruments also made the session hands on. I hope that we can have Paul come back in the future and highly recommend him as a clinician.”
–Jamie LaBarge, President, St. Lawrence County Music Educators Association