Audiobooks and the new one by Dave Liebman called The Art of Skill

As an experiment about two months ago, I recorded my reading of the book Richie Beirach and I produced called the Lineage of Modern Jazz Piano. I then made it into an audiobook. The audiobook market is growing by about 25% over the past couple years, so that must mean that people are becoming more interested and capable of listening to books.

I think the market has a long way to go, and one direction I’m in favor of is in making self-publishing easier. Anyone can record an audiobook but there are a limited number of ways to listen to an audiobook. The leader is Audible, but with them taking 60% off the top for non-exclusivity, the audiobook author isn’t left with much. Yes, Amazon has the Superbowl of audiences and reach, but I’m not sure the volume makes up for the small portion earned by the author.

There are a dozen or so apps for listening, each with its own niche and distribution, You can create you own reading app, but the cost of the app will have to be recouped by the sales of the audiobook.

The bottom line is that the cost of an audiobook to an author is high, and that’s because the means to listen to an audiobook is limited. The cost of self-publishing a paper book is that the cost to produce it is relatively cheap and it requires no external reader. We just look at a book.

We need a standardized reader on which anyone can publish and lives on every device. You record a book, create the audio and visual files, and load it up for free. Then anyone on this ubiquitous platform would pay a small cost to read it. Good riddance to Amazon’s 60% and everyone else charging a big chunk of the book for putting it on their platform.


But what about Dave Liebman’s book?

Sorry, I got distracted. The book Dave and I produced called The Art of Skill is now an audiobook. Dave narrated the first chapter called Seeing the Light, and I narrated the rest of the book.

One topic I wanted to explore with Lieb was about hearing and expressing one’s own musical voice. He has a lot to say on the topic and has had his own uniquely identifiable sound on tenor and then later, on soprano.

You’ll also hear Dave’s thoughts on practicing. Who did a lot and who didn’t. He thinks that one’s practice habits and amount of time should cater to the individual’s desired outcome. Not everyone needs to practice 8+ hours a day like Michael Brecker. After all, he knew that his greatness would be his technical prowess.

On the other hand, Miles rarely practiced, opting instead to warm up as part of his performance on stage, not the least worried about cracking notes or other imperfections.

If you prefer your books made of paper, you can preview and order it here:

This is the 21st century version of the old-school learning with a mentor. Whether you read his words or listen to them, you will be a better musician by learning from the experiences and advice of Dave Liebman

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