Bobby Selvaggio
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Bobby Selvaggio

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"Downbeat October 2008"

Fronting a capable and sensitive quintet, alto/soprano saxophonist Selvaggio bends the rules to his advantage. On the set’s nine tunes ( all Selvaggio’s except “Alone Together” ), there’s a nice blend of straight ahead jazz with some Latin configurations, odd time signatures, and ballads. But the arrangements make the difference. Take the opener, “Forgotten Man”. Sporting a swinging, halting nature, with fine solos from trumpeter Paul Tynan and Kenny Werner on piano, it’s a tip-off to what follows: music that’s thoughtful, slyly subversive, perhaps a wee bit delicate, but hardly conventional. - John Ephland


Bobby Selvaggio wanted to write a demanding tune that takes its cues from Wayne Shorter and his present-day quartet. Composing something like this is one thing, but performing it must have been another chore entirely. Fortunately for Selvaggio, the band was up to the task, and this recording of “Whirlwind” is their first take. The group collectively puts accents on beats at irregular spots, playing whack-a-mole all over the melody. Even when Selvaggio improvises, he somehow maintains the presence of mind to drop in those scattered pulses in the middle of some pretty involved soloing. If you listen closely enough, you can hear Werner simultaneously doing the same kind of multitasking. Despite the jagged rhythms, the harmony lands on its feet after every somersault. Impish strains like this one are such a gas.
- S. Victor Aaron


“Bobby’s CD was really something special. It’s not often that a composer sets up tunes and situations that make the band and every soloist sound special, but once we understood Bobby’s compositions, each and every one of them started to make us sound brilliant. Also, for my money, Bobby is among the best of players out there!” - Kenny Werner


“Bobby Selvaggio is one of the few young saxophonists on the scene today that captures you with his strong presence, focus, and sound. He carries you with him on his journey through these original compositions and has put together a fantastic group for his new release. I’ve known Bobby for some time and it’s very exciting for me to hear his development, and see his passion and drive through the years grow and grow……Carry on Bobby!!!! That’s what it takes.” - Joe Lovano

"All About Jazz/NY"

I had the good fortune of releasing an album by the Cleveland legend, late accordionist Pete Selvaggio, and it seems that his son, saxophonist Bobby, has inherited his father’s passion. On Modern Times he comes out swinging in a multi-colored affair that suggests how much he has heard and how deftly he blends solid instrumental dexterity with a sense of composition. The album kicks into gear with the original “Quick Solutions”, written with Sean Jones in mind. Jones had worked for two years in Cleveland with the leader’s octet and is powerfully in the center of this tune. He and Selvaggio have bold solo sections and find invention in the midst of the fire. Jones is also central to the sinuously funky “Timbuktu Step”, a Middle Eastern-flavored groove. He gets through the quirky theme with ease and later solos with beautiful grace while Selvaggio slices and dices through a piece that sounds both simple and complicated at once. As the set proceeds, one becomes thoroughly impressed with the rhythm section: pianist Kenny Werner masters everything from collective improvisation to complex chord changes all without seeming to break a sweat, and bassist Matt Wigton and drummer Nathan Douds offer propulsive and lyrical support. Selvaggio lets the influence of past greats like Cannonball and Phil Woods glow through his playing but also makes it quite clear that his own voice is creative and original. - Donald Elfman


"Unspoken Dialogue" - Playscape Recordings 2006 featuring Kenny Werner, Ben Street, and Jamey Haddad.
"Modern Times" - Arabesque Recordings 2008 featuring Kenny Werner and Sean Jones.



Bobby Selvaggio is one of the leading voices on alto sax in today's Jazz scene. In the words of two of todays main figures in Jazz: Kenny Werner - ".....Bobby is among the best of players out there...." and Joe Lovano - ".....Bobby is one of the few young saxophonists on the scene today that captures you with his strong presence, focus, and sound.......". Bobby plays alto and soprano sax, alto clarinet, flute, is a bandleader of multiple projects, composer and arranger, Jazz clinician, and has a personal teaching studio. After living in New York City for 4 years, gigging all over the city at such places as the Vanguard and Birdland, and getting a Masters in Jazz Performance from Manhattan School of Music, Bobby moved back to Cleveland with his family and has recorded 5 CD's, booked gigs and tours with his various bands, is continually creating new musical projects, and is writing a book on Jazz Improvisation. Besides his busy music schedule, Bobby enjoys spending time with his wife Chelsea, son Julian, and cats Mingus and Maisy.