Gary Smulyan, Baritone Saxophone
Gary Smulyan was born April 4, 1956, in Bethpage, New York. The gifted multi-instrumentalist started his music career by first learning alto saxophone during his teenage years on Long Island. Today he is critically acclaimed across-the-board and recognized as a major voice on the baritone saxophone. His playing is marked by an aggressive rhythmic sense, an intelligent and creative harmonic approach -- and perhaps most importantly - a strong and incisive wit.
After graduating high school he attended SUNY-Postsdam and Hofstra University before he joined Woody Herman's Young Thundering Herd in 1978. It was a remarkable collection of young musicians who ultimately would find themselves in the forefront of present-day jazz. Joining Smulyan in the band were saxophonist Joe Lovano, bassist Marc Johnson and drummer John Riley, who would eventually become a fixture in the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.
Gradually establishing himself the talented Smulyan was asked to share the stage and the recording studio with a stunning potpourri of luminaries including: trumpeters Freddie Hubbard and Dizzy Gillespie, saxophonist Stan Getz, pianist Chick Corea, timbales king Tito Puente, and R&B/Blues and soul icons Ray Charles, B.B. King and Diana Ross.
Smulyan, in addition to performing and recording in support of a myriad of people began to accumulate a discography as a leader. At this point in his career he has at least 10 recordings out under his own name.
No matter who he is performing with - or whether he is leading his own band at the time - Smulyan brings to the stage the spirit, style and savvy of a deeptoned master of bebop. "Gary Smulyan's lineage comes more from musicians like Cecil Payne, Leo Parker, Pepper Adams, Serge Chaloff and Nick Brignola - the few baritonists that dared to master the tricky, chromatic music known as bebop," wrote All About Jazz's Francis Lo Kee in a review.
"Smulyan's tone seems to get bigger and his ideas more expansive from album to album," wrote long-time critic Doug Ramsey in Jazz Times magazine. In 1995, WBGO, the all-jazz, Newark, N.J.-based NPR station voted Smulyan's Saxophone Mosaic as one of the best 25 CDs of 1995; two years later the Boston Globe selected the baritone saxophonist's Gary Smulyan with Strings as one of the 10 best jazz CDs of 1997.
Always in search of new ideas, in 2008 Smulyan released High Noon - The Jazz Soul of Frankie Laine; it is a nine-piece band tribute to the prolific 1940s and 1950s pop singer Frankie Laine who died in 2007 at age 93. "This is the kind of album whose melodies linger after the session's over," wrote another long-time critic, Owen Cordle of Charlotte News and Observer.
Listen to Interloper from Gary Smulyan and George Cables recent album...Two for Thad - Remembering Thad Jones.
Night Is Alive manages some of the most intriguing and inventive musicians of our time.
They are internationally known, respected and honored.
ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT
Buy/Listen to Latest Release:
The Village Vanguard
Musicians Played With:
Winner of the 2015 Downbeat Readers Poll for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year.
Winner of the 2015 Downbeat Critics Poll for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year.
2015 Baritone Saxophonist of the Year Winner, JJA Jazz Awards.