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Take Five With Paul Carlon

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Paul Carlon: Saxophonist and composer Paul Carlon has been active on the New York City jazz and Latin jazz scenes for fifteen years, having performed with and/or composed for James Hurt, Phil Bowler and Pocket Jungle, the Jason Lindner Big Band, Juan Pablo Torres, Harvie S, Grupo los Santos, Rumbatap Dance Company, the Ileana SantamarÃa Orchestra, Swingadelic, Sonido Isleo, Gary Morgan's Panamericana, Clave y Guaguanco and Phil Woods.

Paul recorded with JP Torres on his all-star CD Together Again in 2000, alongside such stars of Latin jazz as Arturo Sandoval, Chucho Valdes, Giovanni Hidalgo, and Steve Turre. Paul has performed at regional, national and international music festivals. He has toured, recorded, and performed all over the U.S., the Caribbean (including Cuba), and South America, and has appeared in film, radio and on TV. Paul's appearances on film include the documentaries Latido Latino, made for Spanish public television, and Camo se forma una rumba/How to Create a Rumba, by Ivan Acosta (shown at Lincoln Center as part of Latin Beat 2001!).

Paul also recently completed a Master's Degree in Music Composition at The City College of New York, where he studied with Mike Holober, John Patitucci and David Del Tredici. He currently teaches at the College of Staten Island.

Instrument(s): tenor and soprano sax, flute, mbira (occasionally), assorted hand percussion, coro.

Teachers and/or influences? Teachers: Joe Procopio: High School; the man who got me started George Garzone and Bob Mintzer: private saxophone lessons.

Influences: Gene Ammons, Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt, Bird, Trane, Prez, Joe Hen, Wayne Shorter, Sal Nistico, Eddie "Lockjaw Davis, Booker Ervin, Paul Gonsalves, Ellington/Strayhorn, Lenine, Cachao, Shostakovich, Mongo, Bartok, Los Van Van, Charlie Mingus, Stravinsky, Muddy Waters, Gil Evans.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I had tried other things and could not get around the reality that there was nothing else I could possibly spend the rest of my life doing.

Your sound and approach to music: My approach to practicing is very technique oriented, while my approach to playing and composing is much more intuitive and free; I'm not sure that practicing and performing have much to do with each other, other than the one making the other flow more.

In writing music, which I feel to be completely intuitive, I look always for the things I'm hearing that are unorthodox, illogical, spiritual, ugly, unusual, beautiful or without explanation, as these are probably the things that are going to lead me where I want to go.

Your dream band: Actually I'd have to say my dream band right now is my octet, because of the privilege of having a group that performs your own music, and also because they kick so much ass onstage; a close second (in truth it's hard to put one over the other) is Grupo Los Santos, with whom I also play and a band that has evolved a very fulfilling level of interplay and creativity.

I would love to play with Roy Haynes, Lenine, Herbie Hancock, John Patitucci, Maraca.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? Other Tongues, because it's the closest realization yet of some of the things I'm hearing.

Did you know... I have a degree in English Literature!

CDs you are listening to now: Eddie "Lockjaw Davis, Jaws (Prestige); Sly and the Family Stone, Fresh (Epic); Nacao Pernambuco, Maracatu (Out of Print); Bill Evans Trio, Explorations (Riverside); Vins Valega Group, Awake (Consilience Productions).

What is in the near future? Currently I'm planning for my octet's second CD, to be recorded (hopefully!) in the fall of '07.

I'm trying to find time to write an album's worth of material. I'm also working on putting together some tour dates for the band in the Northeast. And, we've got an upcoming show in NYC at Dekk Restaurant and Lounge March 4!

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