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Salute to George Coleman with Gary Smulyan and Eric Alexander


Check out this great interview between A-I-R Gary Smulyan and Festival PR & Marketing Director about artist talks & clinics, Gary’s roots in the jazz world and more. Click HERE to read it.

Gary Smulyan, baritone saxophonist and bebop master, is one of the major voices on his instrument today. His latest honors include winner of the 2009 and 2010 Jazz Journalist Award for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year, the 2009 Down Beat Critics Poll for Baritone Saxophone, and the 2011 Down Beat reader’s Poll. He has also won six Grammy Awards.

Gary got the jazz bug early in high school sitting in with artists like Chet Baker and Lee Konitz. After college he joined Woody Herman’s Young Thundering Herd. With him in that band were saxophonist Joe Lovano, bassist Marc Johnson and drummer John Riley–all major names in jazz today. In 1980, he became part of the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. He also worked with the Mingus Big Band and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.


Photo by: Steven Sussman

Gary has shared the stage and studio with luminaries like Freddie Hubbard and Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Chick Corea, Tito Puente, Ray Charles, B.B. King and Diana Ross. He currently has more than 10 CDs as a leader. He now works regularly with Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, with the Joe Lovano Nonet (with whom he appears on the 2011 Litchfield Jazz Festival) and with the Dave Holland Octet and Big Band. He has also enjoyed stints with tenor saxophonist George Coleman and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band.

These days Gary lives in Amherst, MA, with his wife, pianist and conductor Joan Cornachio. He is a faculty member of Amherst College and serves as the artistic director at the Berkshire Hills Music Academy in South Hadley, MA.  Gary joined the Litchfield Jazz Camp as a teaching artist in 2011.

This year marks Gary’s second appearance on the LJC.  His Salute to George Coleman features Mr. Coleman’s own arrangements with Gary on baritone sax, Mr. Coleman’s young protégé and our special guest Eric Alexander on tenor, Jeff Lederer and Don Braden also on tenors, Onaje Allan Gumbs, piano, Marcus McLaurine, bass, Matt Wilson, drums, Dave Ballou, trumpet,  and Kris Allen, alto. This ensemble debuted last season on Litchfield Jazz Camp’s series, Kent Has That Jazz and rocked the house.


Photo by: Steven Sussman

Gary Smulyan is the 2012 Artist in Residence for the 17th Annual Litchfield Jazz Festival.

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