GOING PLACES I
Joe Louis Arena, today,
2593 Woodward, Berkley, Roger
Behr, today; Thom Sharp,
Tuesday through Jan. 7,
Special 7b The Jewish News
on Liebman was a lanky 15-year-
old high school student when he
first joined his brother Marty's
Hebrew band as a bass player. For
the next five years, he traveled
with the group, Kol Yisrael,
throughout the Midwest, playing most-
ly for bar and bat mitzvah parties and
youth group events. Thday, Liebman
and his bass still travel extensively, but
the itineraries, the music and the au-
diences are far removed from the in-
timate crowds of his Kol Yisrael years.
Most recently, Liebman played in
the Virgin Islands with the 1950s soul
group, the Coasters, and went to
Washington, D.C., to play for the an-
nual Congressional Hispanic Caucus
dinner. He also appeared in Puerto
Rico with the vocalist Cheyenne, in an
outdoor concert for 30,000 people.
Earlier this year he toured South
Florida with Julius LaRosa and per-
formed with Kay Starr.
Liebman has traveled to the
Dominican Republic with the Latin
recording star, Braulio, and performed
at the Latin Singers' Awards ceremony
in Miami, rubbing elbows with Jose
Feliciano and Julio Iglesias. He also
"did some jazz" on the Billy Eckstein
In addition, Liebman appeared on
Miami television for a March of Dimes
fund-raiser, did tours in Guatemala,
Puerto Rico and Los Angeles, and
swung through Thxas and Mexico
where, he says, "We played to bull rings
and arenas of screaming 16-year-old
girls!" Amid this, he managed to con-
tinue his work as music arranger and
proofreader for Columbia Pictures.
Born in Cleveland in 1960, Lieb-
man moved to Detroit at 7, and con-
siders this city the "place where I grew
up." Music has always been a part of
his family life. His father, Jerry Lieb-
man, was a popular rock and roll disc
jockey in the '50s and '60s, known as
Specs Howard. "I always knew every
song on the radio. My brother Marty
Jon Liebman has built a studio in his home to pursue music through electronics.
Jon Liebman has become a master
of music — through performing,
writing and arranging.
and I used to test each other on the top
20 times. I didn't know how to read but
I knew how to find a song on an L.P.
record and I could work the hi fi."
The youngest child of Jerry and
Ceil Liebman, his siblings are Shelly,
Marty and Lisa. "We all took piano,"
he quips, "But Marty's the only one
who made it sound like music." A first
grader when he began piano, Liebman
hated to practice and finally quit. In
third grade he tried violin, and in fifth
grade, the drums. "But," he explains,
"ever since I was 7 or 8, I used to pick
up the guitar — never really studied it
— just fooled around. By the time I got
into high school I was a pretty good
"In fact:' he continued, "I really
wanted to play guitar, but my brother's
band needed a bass player, so I played
the bass because I had to. After five
years, I learned to do it really well."
Liebman credits his brother Mar-
ty, a musician in his own right, with
teaching him a lot about music.
Liebman attended Hillel Day
School for the elementary grades, and
went to Akiva for grades seven, eight
and nine. He sang in the B'nai David
choir and "really enjoyed that a lot."
After graduating from Southfield High
School, Liebman attended the Univer-
sity of Michigan — Dearborn, for two
years, studying music and business
and choosing bass as his instrument of
study in his freshman year. At U of M,
Liebman sang in the Vocal Chamber
Ensemble. At the music director's re-
quest, he wrote an arrangement of
"Oifen Prippichik" for soprano, alto,
tenor and bass.
After his second year at U of M,
Liebman was awarded a scholarship to
a summer jazz workshop at Henry Ford
Community College. It was here that
he realized he would have to change
schools if he intended to study music
seriously. He transferred to Wayne
State University on a scholarship and
became, he says, "a performance major
playing classical, and also a jazz ma-
jor." Eventually, he concentrated on the
In May 1981, Liebman began the
radio and TV broadcasting course at
his family's Specs Howard School of
Broadcast Arts. In August, he landed
a job at WWJ radio, where his respon-
sibilities included running the audio
control board, doing production, pro-
gramming the computer, making com-
mercials and editing tapes.
He fondly recalled one experience
at the station. "I was working in the
control room and a guy came running
in with a tape in his hand. He was
frantic and insisted that he needed it
to air right away. I threw it on the ma-
chine and it was a tape of my Dad!"
In February 1982, Liebman took on ,
another radio job, this one at WIQB
in Ann Arbor, playing rock and roll,
but he gave up the position due to the
long drive and his increased workload
In addition to his musical, academic
and radio pursuits, Liebman studied
with Max Janowksi, who is with the
Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Lieb-
man had an exhausting stint in com-
munity orchestras, school ensembles,
with Southfield's Scandinavian Sym-
phony, the WSU Orchestra, the WSU
Symphony Band and the WSU Jazz
Wayne St. University, Detroit,
Romeo and Juliet, now through
Jan. 28; admission. 577-2972.
Dearborn, The Wizard of Oz,
today, admission. 271-1620.
211 S. Woodward, Birmingham,
Stepping Out, now through Feb.
5, admission. 644-3533.
MEADOW BROOK THEATRE
Oakland University, Rochester, I
Ought to be in Pictures, Thursday
through Jan. 29, admission.
Ford Auditorium, Nutcracker,
today and Saturday, admission.
TROY ART GALLERY
755 W. Big Beaver, Troy,
"Holiday time at Troy Art
Gallery," with gifts of art
available, now through Jan. 7.
INSTITUTE OF ARTS
5200 Woodward, "Sixteenth
Century Tuscan drawings from
the Uffizi," now through Jan. 8;
Andrew Wyeth: The Helga
Pictures, now through Jan. 22;
photographs by Frederick H.
Evans, now through Feb. 12;
"Tom Parish: Selected
Paintings," now through Feb. 19
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
MUSEUM OF ART
525 S. State, Ann Arbor,
Continued on Page 46
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS