David Laibman is Professor Emeritus of Economics at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He received a Ph.D. in Economics in 1973 at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York. His dissertation, The Invariance Condition for Value-Price Transformation in a Linear, Non-Decomposable Two-Sector Model, dealt with problems in Marxist value theory. Laibman teaches economic theory, political economy, and mathematical economics, at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels at CUNY.
He is also a fingerstyle guitarist, especially its application to the ragtime music of the early twentieth century. With Eric Schoenberg, Laibman recorded The New Ragtime Guitar for Folkways Records in 1970. Rounder Records released his solo album, Classical Ragtime Guitar, in 1980. Laibman has worked with a variety of artists in the early folk world, using his advanced finger picking technique. One notable album is "Way Out West" by Scottish Folksinger Alex Campbell, in 1963. Of note is the track "Orange Blossom Special" which showcases the talent that Laibman was developing.
David Laibman is regarded as one of the founders of modern fingerstyle classic ragtime guitar. He began working out old-timey and classical rags in the 1960s; recorded The New Ragtime Guitar, with Eric Shoenberg (Folkways, 1970), and Classical Ragtime Guitar (Rounder, 1980), both available on CD. In this DVD David performs a wide variety of his compositions and arrangements of rags by Scott Joplin, James Scott and Joseph Lamb. He talks about his musical influences, arranging and working out fingerings for these complex pieces and how in recent times he has begun writing ragtime compositions for guitar.
Titles include: Nola, Red Carpet Rag*, Ragtime Oriole, Alaskan Rag, Maple Leaf Rag*, Silver Swan, Gladiolus Rag, Dallas Rag*, Fingerpicking Honky Tonk, Pandora’s Rag*, Shelter In A Storm*, Love In The Afternoon - A Ragtone Poem*, Courtship Of The Squirrels*, Dill Pickles Rag
As a bonus, those tunes marked with an (*) have been transcribed in tab/music that can be found as PDF files on the DVD.
Running Time: 90 minutes
Review: David Laibman is a master of fingerstyle picking and an entertaining purveyor of ragtime guitar music. He began playing the guitar in the early ’60s and is considered to be one of the founders of modern fingerstyle classic ragtime guitar. A pair of engaging, instructive DVDs, Guitar Artistry of David Laibman and Classic Ragtime Guitar, bring his skilled technique within fretting range of other developing ragtimers.
Guitar Artistry of David Laibman showcases Laibman as he plays 14 tunes, including the classic rags of the three “Great Fathers of Ragtime,” James Scott, Joseph Lamb and Scott Joplin. Along the way, Laibman, who teaches economics at the City University of New York, sprinkles many anecdotes about ragtime music into the mix and offers an insightful sociological perspective on the origins and evolution of the ragtime form. Other enticing anecdotes include his account of re-discovering composer Joseph Lamb, after 40 years of obscurity, living in New York, as well as Laibman’s own entertaining (and clearly tall) tale of stowing away on a ship, being captured by pirates, and learning to play ragtime to entertain their women on an island while they returned to the high sea for more pillaging.
Bracketing these verbal interludes are masterful performances of songs that are more widely known in the collective American consciousness than many might suspect. Among the 14 selections are “Red Carpet Rag,” “Nola,” and “Maple Leaf Rag”. Seven of these tunes have been transcribed in tab/music notation and are available on the DVD as PDF files.
After a lifetime of playing and transcribing rags for the guitar, Laibman has become a composer, as well, demonstrating his inventiveness in the form with “Shelter in a Storm,” “Pandora’s Rag,” “Love in the Afternoon,” “A Ragtime Poem,” and “Courtship of the Squirrels." – Taylor on Review: