George Garzone
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George Garzone

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | INDIE

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz Jazz




"The Fringe In New York"

Saxophonist George Garzone's led various editions of The Fringe, Boston's finest free ensemble, over 25 years. During that time he's remained true to his central mission: championing original compositions and searing improvisational works. There's nothing detached or commercial in the music of Garzone or The Fringe; they've retained their popularity on the East Coast despite being relegated to working the avant-garde circuit and seldom appearing in prestigious venues.

The Fringe in New York not only represents their fourth release for the NYC label, it spotlights the trio working alongside special guest vibist Mike Mainieri, who doubled as producer. Mainieri's dabbled previously in both third stream and fusion, but his work throughout this session ventures into the same territory as that of more adventurous players like Walt Dickerson, Karl Berger and the youthful Bobby Hutcherson. His solos include slashing rhythms, present an array of tonal colors and fit right into the fireworks generated by Garzone, bassist John Lockwood and drummer Bob Gullotti.

Garzone's splayed overdubbed alto on "Anthony Goes to Mardi Gras" ranks as a set highlight, but he's just as distinctive on soprano throughout "Tale of Two Cities" and tenor on "Ultra Tempo." As with many saxophonists who work outside the mainstream, there's long been the lingering myth that Garzone uses the avant-garde banner to mask technical deficiencies. That notion gets repeatedly disproved throughout the date. Garzone never plays out of tune, can play the blues with aplomb and occasionally even steps into the hard-bop or swing arena.

Bassist John Lockwood gets things started in memorable fashion with an astonishing solo on "Tribute to 'Trane." He doesn't utilize strumming or flamenco tendencies as often as the late Jimmy Garrison, but he certainly plays with equal verve and assertiveness. Gullotti powers the trio with resilience, moving from Afro-Latin to light swing to pile-driving beats with ease.

Though no disc can match The Fringe's amazing concerts, this date nicely approximates their magical shows and sound. - Jazz Times

"George Garzone: Among Friends (2009)"

By JAKOB BAEKGAARD, Published: November 21, 2009

George Garzone is one of the unsung heroes of the saxophone, who is known for playing fast and hard. Anyone who has heard his legendary group, The Fringe, whether live or on record, can testify to his ability to blow any competition off the stand, but there is also a softer side to his playing and it is this other aspect of Garzone's art that comes into full fruition on Among Friends, which finds him exploring the mood and aesthetic of the ballad.

With the tenorist is the young Danish bassist Anders Christensen, but otherwise, it is a seasoned cast of musicians that round out the date: pianist Steve Kuhn and drummer Paul Motian.

Supported by Christensen's elegantly understated bass patterns, Motian's fluid timekeeping is perfect for bringing out the best in the slowly breathing lines of the saxophonist and Kuhn is heard at his most romantic, laying down a riverbed of sighing chords on the beautiful arrangements of the originals "Alone," "Farewell," and The Fringe classic "Between Two Cities," which finds Garzone shifting from tenor to soprano saxophone with great effect.

There is also room for an intimate interpretation of the standard "My One And Only Love," where the horn caresses the melody accompanied only by Kuhn's piano. This tune, like all the others, provides a glimpse into the window of the artist's soul. Even though Garzone previously has explored the form of the ballad on various occasions, Among Friends digs deeper and is an autumnal highlight of a so far distinguished career. - All About Jazz

"George Garzone: Steering Clear of Ideology"

By MATTHEW MILLER, Published: May 21, 2008

An esoteric system and guru status among musicians makes for an easy target in today's niche-driven market. Terms like musician's musician and classicist start getting thrown around as a way to commodify and explain away public indifference. This, luckily, is a non-issue for George Garzone. The veteran saxophonist has avoided pigeonholing his entire career, letting his emotionally resonant music speak for itself. "We never put in any boundaries on the music," said the saxophonist of his longstanding group The Fringe on a break between classes at the New School, "Fuck it, we just go for it."

Born in Boston into a family of saxophonists, Garzone spent his formative years studying with his uncle Rocco Spada, who introduced his precocious nephew to legendary woodwind instructor Joe Viola. Under Viola's mentorship, Garzone continued to advance and gradually get involved in the vibrant Boston music scene. "I was able to start gigging when I was twelve," recalled Garzone. After high school, he made the natural move to Berklee, where he continued to study with Viola—the woodwind Chair—and develop enduring musical relationships. "I met [Joe] Lovano and Kenny Werner at Berklee. [John] Scofield was there too, but was a couple years younger."

After graduation, Garzone toured the world with Woody Herman and the singer Tom Jones before settling in Boston and co-founding The Fringe, an improvising trio that has been the preferred setting for hearing Garzone's galvanic improvisations for over thirty years. With drummer Bob Gullotti and bassist Richard Appleman (replaced in 1985 by John Lockwood) Garzone drew heavily from John Coltrane's groundbreaking later work along with rock and world influences to inform the group's free associative ethic. Unlike much of the free music of the 1960s—often overshadowed by political messages and outright anger---The Fringe steered clear of ideology. Making music was the group's first and only concern.

"The cult-like following over more than a quarter century for The Fringe is based on their ability to present the totality of the jazz experience in each of their performances," explains Milan Simich in the liner notes to the group's 2000 NYC album, The Fringe in New York. All this while possessing the Zen-like quality of, in Simich's words, "seeking deeper and deeper truths from within itself." This agenda-free approach and the inexhaustible wealth of ideas that each member brings to the group's performances has allowed The Fringe to stay fresh, bringing to the blues and the wildest avant-garde playing the same focus and detached, meditative quality. "It keeps getting better and better," explained Garzone. "We're all maturing. There's no band, other than The Stones or The Grateful Dead, that's been together for so long." Summing it up to writer Ed Hazell, Garzone explained, "I love doing the free thing because that will never reach the end."

Like his concept, Garzone balances his free excursions with more traditional efforts as a leader and sideman. He is a member of the Joe Lovano Nonet, has performed with Kenny Werner, Rachel Z and Jamaaladeen Tacuma. "I try to balance the outside with the inside; It's a yin and yang," explained Garzone. As arresting as his free playing can be, Garzone is equally brilliant inside the changes. On Alone (NYC), his 1995 tribute to Stan Getz, his glowing renditions of standards are as inspired and heartfelt as the definitive tracks recorded by his idol.

Around the time he was forming The Fringe, Garzone began teaching at his alma mater in 1975. "I never wanted to teach," recalled Garzone, but a diminished jazz scene and increasing responsibilities led to his taking the position in Berklee's woodwind department. The decision was a fateful one for the saxophonist. He has gone on to teach and give clinics around the world and mentor a generation of musicians, including Joshua Redman, Danilo Perez, Branford Marsalis, Lucia - All About Jazz



Alone, NYC Records (1995); with Luciana Souza, voice; Chuck Loeb, guitar; David Kikoski, piano; Eddie Gomez, bass; Lenny White, drums.
Four's and Two's, NYC Records (1996); with Joe Lovano, saxophones; Joey Calderazzo, piano; John Lockwood, bass; Bill Stewart, drums.
Demetrio's Dream, Music by Gianni Pezzano, NL Records (1997)
Moodiology, NYC Records (1999); with Kenny Werner, piano; John Lockwood, bass; Bob Gullotti, drums; Claire Daly, baritone saxophone; Douglas Yates, alto saxophone, bass clarinet; Mike Mainieri, vibraphone.
The Fringe in New York, NYC Records (2000); with the Fringe and Mike Mainieri, vibraphone.
One Two Three Four, Stunt Records (2007); with Chris Crocco, guitar; Dennis Irwin, Bass; Pete Zimmer - Drums
Night of My Beloved, Venus Records (2007); with Kenny Werner and Trio de Paz: Romero Lubambo, piano; Nilson Matta, bass; Duduka da Fonseca, drums.


The Fringe, Ap-Gu-Ga Records (1978)
Live! Ap-Gu-Ga Records (1980)
Hey Open Up (with special guest Ran Blake), Ap-Gu-Ga Records (1982)
The Raging Bulls, Ap-Gu-Ga Records (1986)
Return of the Neanderthal Man, Northeastern Records (1989)
It's Time for the Fringe, Soul Note Records (1992)
Live in Israel, Soul Note Records (1997)
Live in Iseo, Soul Note Records (2002)
The Fringe Live at the Zeitgeist (with special guest, Joe Lovano), Resolution Recordings (2005)

WITH OTHER ARTISTS (but not limited to those listed below)

George Russell and the In Living Time Orchestra: The African Game, Blue Note Records, (1983)
Mordy Ferber: Mr. X, Half Note Records (1985)
Bob Moses/Tsziji Munoz: Love Everlasting, Amulet Records (1987)
The Schulldogs: Tenor Tantrums, GM Recordings (1988)
Gunther Schuller/Orange Then Blue: Jumpin. in the Future, GM Recordings (1989)
Orange Then Blue: Where Were You? GM Recordings, (1989)
George Schuller: Looking Up from Down Below, GM Recordings (1990)
Wolfgang Muthspiel: Black and Blue, Amadeo Records (1992)
Danilo Perez: The Journey, Novus Records (1993)
Alex Deutsch (with Jamaaladeen Tacuma): Pink, Inc, DIW Records (1991)
Ingrid Jensen: Vernal Fields, Enja Records (1994)
Rachel Z: Room of One's Own, NYC Records (1996)
David White: Double Double, CIMP (1998)
Dave Bryant: The Eternal Hang, Accurate Records (1999)
Mike Mainieri: An American Diary Vol. 2: The Dreamings, NYC Records (1999)
Claire Daly: Swing Low, Koch Records (1999)
Luciana Souza: The Answer to Your Silence, NYC Records (1999)
Frank Tiberi: Tiberian Mode, NY Jam Records (1999)
Johnny Johansson: Boston Tea Party, BIBA Records (1999)
Various Artists: As Long as You're Living Yours: The Music of Keith Jarrett, Victor/RCA Records (2000)
Joe Lovano Nonet: 52nd Street Themes, Blue Note Records (2000)
Martin Taylor: Kiss and Tell, Sony Records (2000)
Jerry Steinhilber: Chicago Trio/New York Tenor, Soul Note Records (2001)
Barry Wedgle: Paradise, Exit Records (2001)
Dino Govoni: Breakin' Out, Whaling City Sound (2001)
Joe Lovano Nonet: On This Day: At the Vanguard (Live), Blue Note Records (2002)
Abby and Norm Group: Melodic Miner's Daughter, A to Z Music (2003)
Chris Crocco Fluid Trio: Fluid Trio, Self-published (2007)
Travelin' Hellhound: George's Tribute to Blues Legend Robert Johnson, Self Published (2009)



Saxophonist George Garzone is a member of The Fringe, a jazz trio founded in 1972 that includes bassist John Lockwood and drummer Bob Gullotti, that performs regularly in the Boston area and has toured Portugal. The group has released three albums. A veteran jazzman, Garzone has appeared on over 20 recordings. He began on the tenor when he was six, played in a family band and attended music school in Boston. In addition Garzone has guested in many situations, touring Europe with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and performing with Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, Jack DeJohnette, Rachel Z and John Patitucci among others.

Garzone is well-known as a sought-after jazz educator, currently teaching at the Berklee College of Music. He has also previously taught at New England Conservatory, Longy School of Music, New York University, Manhattan School of Music, Northeastern University and the New School University. He has pioneered the triadic chromatic approach and students of his have included Joshua Redman, Branford Marsalis, Teadross Avery, Luciana Souza, Mark Turner, Donny McCaslin, Doug Yates and Danilo Perez, to name a few.

In 1995 he recorded a fine tribute to Stan Getz on NYC called Alone; Four's and Two's followed a year later with compatriot Joe Lovano which earned him four stars in Downbeat magazine, and in 1999 Garzone returned with Moodiology. Fringe in New York was released in summer 2000. He is a member of the Grammy-winning Joe Lovano Nonet, and performed and recorded with this group at the Village Vanguard in September 2002. George is endorsed by Rico Reeds, JodyJazz mouthpieces and R. S. Berkeley musical instruments.