Max Perkoff
Gig Seeker Pro

Max Perkoff


Band Jazz R&B


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Press Release"

Trombonist/pianist Max Perkoff releases Infinite Search
CD of Perkoff originals distinguished by outstanding ensemble play

For immediate release:
Media contact: Max Perkoff at (415) 726-6282 •

(San Francisco) Infinite Search, the Max Perkoff Band, the brand new CD by the Max Perkoff Band, represents Max Perkoff’s most compelling project to date. That’s saying a lot, for as a trombonist, pianist, composer and bandleader, Max Perkoff is a musician of grace, depth and impressive achievement, with several striking recordings as a leader to his name, and a recent chart-busting collaboration with trombone great Roswell Rudd. Perkoff has impressive bloodlines, as well; he’s the son of pianist Si Perkoff, one of the founding fathers of San Francisco bebop.

The Max Perkoff Band will celebrate the release of Infinite Search with a performance at Jazz at Pearl’s on Thursday, April 12, 2007. Jazz at Pearl’s ( is located at 256 Columbus Avenue in the heart of San Francisco’s North Beach District. Shows are at 8:00 and 10:00 pm, with doors opening at 7:30.

A stimulating ride with fascinating surprises around every corner, Infinite Search provides testimony to Perkoff’s range as a trombonist and a pianist and to the skill of his crackling, extremely versatile band. Perkoff’s trombone sound is bright, vital, and full of invention, and his piano work is supple and alive. The Max Perkoff group is an incendiary ensemble of high-test players including guitarist Randy Vincent, bassist Sam Bevan and drummer Paul van Wageningen. The artists interact with an empathetic, group-first sensibility that lends the music an intimate, heartfelt depth. Comprised entirely of originals, Infinite Search also admirably presents Max Perkoff, composer.

Ultimately, it’s the stylistic range and downright fearlessness of Perkoff and his bandmates that truly distinguishes Infinite Search. The group combines the provocative exploratory qualities of John Coltrane with the take-no-prisoners brashness of the Bad Plus.

Perkoff refers to the ensemble as “a concert group and party band rolled into one.” In fact, straight-ahead jazz, R&B, free-form improvisation, World and folk music all shine brightly through the band’s musical prism. The key, here, is the successful forging of this eclecticism into a cohesive artistic statement. Perkoff and crew accomplish that goal with aplomb. From the gently probing post-bop dance of the title track to the joyous funk sashay of “Cookin’ for 20,” to the mainstream romp of “New Life,” the band never repeats itself and never strikes a false note. Singer Cami Thompson, with whom Perkoff has been collaborating for more than 14 years, contributes an exquisite vocal on the ballad, “Waiting,” that provides Infinite Search its subtle emotional touchstone.

It’s not hard to understand where Max Perkoff gets his groove from. As previously noted, his father, Si Perkoff, is a lion of San Francisco jazz, for years the house pianist at the legendary Fillmore bebop cauldron, Jimbo’s Bop City. Musicians like Elvin Jones and Thelonious Monk would regularly drop by the Perkoff household. As Perkoff recently told interviewer Maxwell Chandler, “By the time I was old enough to buy my own records I was already a jazzer, in love with Billie Holiday, worshiping Bird, Bud, Diz, Basie, Louis, Duke and everyone else.”

Infinite Search is just the latest in a string of creative successes for Max Perkoff. In 2004, he took part in the aforementioned collaboration with Roswell Rudd. The two trombonists teamed up to join the Monk’s Music Trio, featuring Perkoff’s dad, Si, on the highly acclaimed CD, Monk’s Bones, which reached #10 on the national jazz radio play charts in 2006. Thomas Conrad of JazzTimes said, “If this record doesn't make you grin like a fool, you're a grinch.” And Cory Cunningham of the International Trombone Association Journal added, “With some edgy arrangements and new ideas, Monk's Bones sets itself apart from the pack in any jazz trombone CD collection."

In 2005, Perkoff joined with his father to release Amazing Space, a shimmeringly beautiful trombone/piano duo album. The freshness of the instrumentation and vitality of the playing allowed the two Perkoffs to create new vistas for classics like Charlie Parker’s “Au Privave” and Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child,” and to work wonders with a lovely set of originals.

In addition, Perkoff lends his performance, arranging and direction skills to an array of highly successful jazz/cabaret shows, including an acclaimed tribute to Oscar Brown, Jr. by vocalist Linda Kosut and “Drunk with Love,” singer Terese Genecco’s raucous salute to cabaret legend Francis Faye. The busy Perkoff is also a regular contributor to the bustling San Francisco blues scene, often joining the band of his cousin, renowned San Francisco blues saxman Ben “King” Perkoff.  His sideman gigs on recordings of all kinds are too numerous to - The Max Perkoff Band

"Monk's Bones"

Each of these tracks features a Thelonious Sphere Monk composition. However, the homage lends a flavorful, non-52nd street approach to Monk's quintet and solo piano works mainly due to the dueling trombones of Max Perkoff and Roswell Rudd. Rudd, known for his gritty, slippery slike work with Archie Shepp in the 1960's, does not disappoint on this record as he demonstrates remarkable flexibility of range and throaty deviations from the trombone status quo. In fact, Rudd proves to be a dynamic, one-of-a-kind performer. If a fresh approach is what each instrumentalist needs, that inspiration can be found here!

Likewise, the younger Perkoff finds himself firmly rooted in the avant-garde, equipped to cross slikdes in a post-bop skirmish while still ably navigating the more standard approach. The two embark on a number of occasions into plunger solos and the use of other muted textures that benefit the listener by adding coloring as well as a new voice to both melody and solo sections.

The final two tracks of the disc, which utilize a traditional improvisatory approach, include the classics "I Mean You" and "Blue Monk," a tune that captures the musical imagery of the arrangements a la Jay and Kai. Thelonious Monk fans will welcome the arrangements in the more traditional vein as well as those more aggressive, slippery tracks that include many of his great works such as "Friday the Thirteenth" and "Little Rootie Tootie." And, what clebration of the eccentric pianist is complete without a performance of "Round Midnight?"

Monk's Trio is a fine group backing two remarkable trombonists in their adventure into the more avant-garde style of trombone improvisation. With some edgy arrangements and new ideas, MONKS BONES sets itself apart from the pack in any jazz trombone CD collection.

- Cory Cunningham - International Trombone Association Journal (Jun 1, 2006)

"Monk's Bones"

"The big jazz record of 2005 was a concert recording by Thelonious Monk, who’d died in 1982. Before his death, few jazz musicians specialized in playing his tunes, although there were exceptions like Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd. Since Monk passed, bands on several continents have dedicated themselves to playing his music. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a new CD by California’s Monk’s Music Trio, joined by a couple of guests.

The Bay Area pianist Si Perkoff knew Thelonious Monk and knows plenty of his tunes. Five or six years ago drummer Chuck Bernstein invited him to join a trio devoted to playing Monk. That was a good idea. Sometimes the pianist’s son, trombonist Max Perkoff would guest with the trio, and then Bernstein had the idea to pair him up with another slide trombonist, the legendary—make that beloved—Roswell Rudd. That was a very good idea. Rudd has played in a few Monk specialty bands going back to the early 60s, and enjoys romping with other trombones. So he took to this lineup like a duck to plum sauce.

Two trombones—that’ll wake anybody up. Especially when they schmear one note up against one right next to it, the way Monk would on piano. I like the previous albums by Monk’s Music Trio, but “Monk’s Bones” leaves ’em in the dust. Bass player Sam Bevan is new to the band, but everybody knows the repertoire so well, they know just how to stay in or out of each other’s way. And you can always tell trombonists apart when Rudd is one of them—he’s always the bigger extravert. Max Perkoff favors a fairly straightforward tone; the integrity of his lines is what counts. Rudd’s improvising is frowsier, often colored by various mutes, to give a more vocalized sound, as in Duke Ellington’s band.

Monk’s tune “Little Rootie Tootie.” Another reason Roswell Rudd has made some great records, aside from the way he plays, is the way he treats the musicians he works with. Rudd is so warm, enthusiastic and committed, so obviously knocked out by what they’re playing, they can’t help feeling motivated.

Thelonious Monk’s compositions are central to the jazz tradition now, but only a couple of decades ago, many musicians found his pieces hard to play. Typically they’d either imitate Monk and his band, playing not too many notes, or they treated his tunes like any other excuse to run their horns. On the CD “Monk’s Bones” you hear five players who really understand the material and play it their own way—some friendly Monkish piano plinks aside. The quintet get the logic of Monk’s pieces, literally get into the swing of them. In the end that’s way more important than how few or many notes they play."

- Kevin Whitehead - "Fresh Air" on National Public Radio (Feb 7, 2006)

""Infinite Search" - The Max Perkoff Band"

"His (Perkoff's) tone and facility are of the first order, and he deserves a place among the trombone elite."

- John Gilbert, -

"Infinite Search-The Max Perkoff Band"

Randy Vincent-guitar
Max Perkoff-trombone/piano
Cami Thompson-vocals (track 4)
Sam Bevan-bass
Paul van Wageningen-drums

San Francisco and New York are probably two of the best cities to see jazz in, stateside. Both cities get many of the remaining living legends, plus artists who rarely tour (America) and things of a more eclectic nature.

Both cities wear their cosmopolitan label with pride and, jazz-wise have the pedigree to back it up. New York had the 52nd street scene, Birdland, The Village Vanguard. San Francisco had Bop City, The Blackhawk and The Keystone Corner.

While I take full advantage of the great jazz available with its line up of legends, lately I have been also looking towards the future. A little game a bunch of us play is “who will we be seeing in concert ten, twenty, thirty years down the line, when all the remaining legends are gone? “
With this in mind I have been checking out some of the younger players on the scene. I first discovered Max Perkoff as a guest star during one of the Monk’s Music Trio performances. The trio features his piano playing father Si, but since my initial discovery I have seen Max play in other ensembles which proved to be different but equally enjoyable.

What I have come to learn about Max is that a key component of his art is a diversity of palette. This is true of his various live concert situations and now too of his albums as well.

His new one is the sixth as a leader and the first to feature a program of all original compositions. The CD is full of stylistic shifts, but manages to encompass various influences seamlessly. The exploration of different genres is not done out of commercial considerations, but from the band’s inherent desire and ability to explore different fabrics of the vast tapestry known as jazz.
The organic mélange of moods prevents the CD from being a soundtrack regulated to specific times, places or conditions. There is never a patchwork feel, but more one of shifting ideas and moods as one would encounter in a good conversation.

Of late, trombone is used as part of large ensembles and given brief moments to speak up and shine. Smaller combos which eschew other brass on the front line aside from a ‘bone often tonally give the sense of something missing. The band is Max’s regular working/road band and their familiarity with one another prevents any sonic holes or dead spaces from appearing.

While all the compositions are Max’s each band member contributed ideas for their parts and this too adds to a fuller sonic cohesion. Not once do you get the feeling you are listening to a lead instrument’s album where the others are allowed token moments to speak out.

One of the pleasures of this album which is immediately apparent are the Sonics involved. It sounds like a band playing, together, they avoided the frigidity which can occur on modern jazz recordings when things are “too clean”. There is an ambient reverb which harkens back to jazz’s pre-digital age and will allow the album to age well.

The other aspects of the album’s sonics are tied in with the musicians playing and are equally as pleasing.
While his personal style is ever present, the cadence of Max’s ‘bone changes from piece to piece over the course of the album. Some of the best moments, conjuring up a drunken bumble-bee, fully articulate as he joyfully sings his song. Over all, Max’s tone and playing are built off of some of those who came before (J.J Johnson) but incorporating his own thing with an influx of inspirations not available to his artistic forefathers. I find that he has progressive leanings, but never so much as to alienate the more casual jazz listener.

Cleverly, except for One Dollar Dance, which finds Max at the bench, piano is absent. Its spot on the bandstand is replaced by guitar. There is a tastefulness in everything Randy plays, whether it is the throaty tube inflexed solo found on Dr. King or the almost organ like chime that subtly announces his presence on New Life.

It is also almost becoming a forgotten pleasure for a guitar to just sound like a guitar without it being pumped through all the au-current studio gadgets available. There is a liter or two, at least, of soul jazz to be found in Randy’s blood, devoid of any potential clichés of the genre.
The song Just Enough is the blues by way of Bossa Nova. There is a bass solo which is a thing of beauty, a fat rich tone which manages to not waste any time. Sam can play, but does not have to overly prove it with every solo statement and this furthers the strength of what he shows us. Witness the guitar coming in, a perfect Gemini twin. Two artists speaking in one voice. The effect of the drums, the time passes without notice.

Sunset in Sienna is a short dramatic track, perfectly placed, it serves as a sort of prelude to Memories of Lady Day. The tone of Max’s ‘bone, the mood of the piece, a beautiful woman, melancholy, who laughs despite herself.

Aside from -


"Infinite Search." Street date: April 2, 2007. Radio airplay has begun, and international reviews are already arriving. Please check back for more.


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Max Perkoff Band began in the spring of 2006, playing clubs and festivals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Several original tunes have become audience favorites, ("One Dollar Dance" and "Blues For Dr. King" among others) requested by people who keep coming back to the group's gigs.

Max toured the west and east coasts of the USA in 2005 and 2006. Touring included New York City, Los Angeles, Reno, Nevada; and throughout the state of Oregon. Touring in 2007 includes New York City with plans for more, so stay tuned!

Gig venues in New York City include Jazz At Lincoln Center, The Triad, La Mama Theater, The Encore & The Metropolitan Room. In the Bay Area: Yoshi's in Oakland, Jazz At Pearls, The Filmore, Performances at Six in San Francisco; and many more.

Max joined trombonist Roswell Rudd and Monk's Music Trio for the highly acclaimed "Monk's Bones." The CD reached #10 on the national jazz radio charts in 2006.

Among the many artists Randy Vincent has toured and/or recorded with are: Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Bill Watrous, and The Turtle Island String Quartet.

Sam Bevan played bass for the David Grisman Band, 2000-2001, and is equally adept at classical acoustic swing and electric funk and jazz-fusion.

Paul van Wageningen has played with Stan Getz, Paquito D'Rivera, Angela Bofil, Claudia Vallela, and many more.

"Perkoff injects a kind of Kai Winding clarity..." Barry McRae, Jazz Journal International

"Max Perkoff favors a fairly straightforward tone; the integrity of his lines is what counts." - Kevin Whitehead, "Fresh Air" on National Public Radio.

"Friday the 13th" is simply outstanding; dig the way the two bones - both muted - interact with berimbau. They compliment each other polyphonically on "Blue Monk." - Willard Jenkins, (praise for "Monk's Bones')

"Perkoff's effervescent personality did positively affect both his and his colleagues' playing. He's relaxed on the 'bone, has a nice tone and doesn't try to play 64 notes per measure." - Phil Elwood, San Francisco Examiner.

"It’s not “just any” pair of trombonists. It’s Max Perkoff and the venerable Roswell Rudd. ...The trombonists are exciting and sound like they played together forever." - Richard Bourcier,

"Max Perkoff, the son of Si, is the youngest of the group, but that is discernible only from pictures. He plays with a healthy, mature sense of balance, avoiding the temptation to overblow." - Shelton Hull,

"...while playing piano, he exhibits the expertise and ease of a natural musician." - Tom W. Kelly, San Francisco Bay Times