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Gary Smulyan

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b. 4 April 1956, Bethpage, New York, USA. Smulyan started out playing alto saxophone while still very young before changing to the baritone saxophone. In high school he was encouraged to look to jazz as a means of self-expression and he went on to sit in with several noted touring musicians, including Chet Baker, Lee Konitz and Jimmy Knepper. In the mid- to late 70s he studied at SUNY-Potsdam and Hofstra University before joining Woody Herman in 1978. In addition to playing at many venues in the USA, he also played at festivals overseas during succeeding decades. From the early 80s he played with several noted leaders, often in big bands, including Toshiko Akiyoshi - Lew Tabackin, Louie Bellson, George Coleman, Benny Green, Lionel Hampton, Tom Harrell, Gene Harris, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Mel Lewis, Machito, Kevin Mahogany, Mingus Epitaph, the Philip Morris Superband, Tito Puente, Red Rodney, Don Sickler and Clark Terry. In the 90s Smulyan began associations with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and with Three Baritone Saxophone Band, in which group he is teamed with Nick Brignola and Ronnie Cuber. Smulyan has acknowledged that his baritone idols are Harry Carney and Pepper Adams, and something of the richly flavoured sound of the former and the sometimes detached approach of the latter make an intriguing blend that is apparent in his work. Smulyan’s Homage pays tribute to Adams not only as player but also by using his idol’s compositions on all tracks.

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04 April 1956 in Bethpage, NY

Years Active:

'90s, '00s