The weekly online radio series Jazzed and Blue: Profiles in Blues and Jazz is back and is now available for download at Rockwired.com and features an exclusive interview with Grammy-winning baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan regarding his brand new release Smul's Paradise. In the opening segment, Smulyan discusses the inspiration behind the tracks of his new CD, working with Mike LeDonne, Peter Bernstein and Kenny Washington and his affinity for the organ jazz trio sound. The second half of this edition of Jazzed and Blue will feature music from such jazz and blues artists as Dee Dee Bridgewater, Nick Moran Trio, Mozik, Veronneau, Diane Schuur and more. After being gone for about three months, it is great to finally be back and doing this show again. says Jazzed and Blue host Brian Lush. It's a real treat to end a long week with a show like this and to kick back and listen to some great music."
Smul's Paradise, baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan's debut recording for Capri Records, is a tribute to the classic jazz organ trio format. Operating in nearly uncharted waters as a baritone player fronting an organ trio, Smul's Paradise gets its name and direction from saxophonist Smulyan, and he is almost certainly one of very few baritone players to front such a group. It's the first time for me," Smulyan acknowledges, but I've been wanting to do this for a long time. It's such a favorite format of mine; I grew up listening to George Benson with Lonnie Smith, and Don Patterson on those albums by Grant Green, and Larry Youngbeautiful, incredibly swinging music."
Prior to Smul's Paradise, the quartet featured on this album had never played together as a group, though both Hammond B3-player Mike LeDonne and drummer Kenny Washington have recorded several times with Smulyan, and guitarist Peter Bernstein has played weekly gigs at Smoke in New York for the past decade as part LeDonne's organ quartet. All are close friends outside the recording studio and you can hear the camaraderie among the players. The impeccable rhythmic and harmonic give-and-take among the band is indeed paradise for an expressive baritone player like Smulyan, but the other players get ample time to show off their solo chops as well.
Gary Smulyan has long been recognized as a major voice on baritone saxophone. Winner of the 2011 DownBeat Critics Poll and Jazz Times Readers and Critics Polls for baritone saxophone, Smulyan is known for his aggressive rhythmic sense, intelligent and creative harmonic vocabulary, and a strong and incisive wit. He's been a member of Woody Herman's Young Thundering Herd, and was part of the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Bob Brookmeyer, as well as the Mingus Big Band and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. He currently performs with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Joe Lovano's Nonet, the Dave Holland Octet as well as Big Band, as well as George Coleman's Octet and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band. In addition, he has shared the stage and recording studio with a wide range of luminaries including Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Chick Corea, Tito Puente, Ray Charles, and Diana Ross, among many others. Smulyan is a six-time Grammy award winner for his work with B.B. King, Joe Lovano, Dave Holland and the Vanguard Orchestra.