About Gary

Winner of the 2022 Downbeat Critic’s Poll for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year!
Winner of the 2022 JJA Jazz Awards for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year!
Winner of the 2021 JazzTimes Expanded Critics Poll for Baritone Saxophone!
Winner of the 2020 JazzTimes Readers Poll for Baritone Saxophone!
Winner of the 2019 Downbeat Reader’s poll for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year!
Winner of the 2019 JJA Jazz Awards for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year!

Winner of the 2018 JazzTimes Readers and Expanded Critics Poll for Baritone Saxophone!
Winner of the 2018 Downbeat Reader’s Poll for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year!
Winner of the 2017 JazzTimes Expanded Critics Poll for Baritone Saxophone!
Winner of the 2016 Downbeat Critics poll for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year!
Winner of the 2016 JazzTimes Critics poll for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year!
Winner of the 2016 JazzTimes Readers poll for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year!
Winner of the 2016 JazzIt Magazine Award for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year!
Winner of the 2015 Downbeat Reader’s Poll for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year!
Winner of the 2015 Downbeat Critics poll for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year!
Winner of the 2014 Downbeat Reader’s Poll for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year!
Winner of the 2014 JazzTimes Expanded Critics Poll for Baritone Saxophone
Winner of the 2009 and 2011 Downbeat Critics Poll for Baritone Saxophone!
Winner of the 2011 JazzTimes Readers and Critics Polls for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year!
Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Jazz Journalist Award for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year!

Baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan was born April 4, 1956, in Bethpage, New York. The gifted multi-instrumentalist started his music career by first learning alto saxophone during his teenage years on Long Island. Today he is critically acclaimed across-the-board and recognized as the major voice on the baritone saxophone. His playing is marked by an aggressive rhythmic sense, an intelligent and creative harmonic approach — and perhaps most importantly – a strong and incisive wit.

While still in high school, he had the chance to sit in with major jazz artists such as legendary trumpeter Chet Baker, saxophonist Lee Konitz, trombonist Jimmy Knepper and violinist Ray Nance.

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Gary's Latest Recording
Tough Baritones

Steeplechase, 2021

Gary Smulyan – baritone saxophone
Ronnie Cuber- baritone saxophone
Gary Versace – piano
Jay Anderson – bass
Jason Tiemann – drums

Tracklist

Blowing The Blues Away
That’s the Groovy Thing
Little Sun Flower
Nica’s Dream
Damn Right Blues
Lover
Well You Needn’t
The Preacher
Split Kick
Intervals


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Performances


January 6 - 13, 2023
The Jazz Cruise
The Jazz Cruise, Ft. Lauderdale / Costa Maya / Cozumel / Nassau

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News and Updates

Vanguard Jazz Orchestra presents Thad Jones 100

The VJO will be commemorating the centennial of Thad Jones' birth the entire 2022-23 academic year. Celebrate one of the giants of big band jazz by bringing the VJO to your campus, festival or concert series. Contact booking coordinator Eric Allen for more info.
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Winner of the 2021 JazzTimes Expanded Critics Poll for Baritone Saxophone!

For the 2021 JazzTimes Expanded Critics’ Poll, an annual companion to last issue’s Year in Review section (which featured our choices for top 40 new releases and top 10 historical releases of 2021), our regular contributors participated in a survey based on our yearly Readers’ Poll. Contributors were asked to focus on artists’ achievements during 2021 rather than assessing entire careers.
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Gary Smulyan Ronnie Cluber Tough Baritones

“Tough Baritones” EOY Lists 2022

The Real Jazz Top Ten 2021 1. Ronnie Cuber & Gary Smulyan, TOUGH BARITONES (Steeplechase)2. Joe Lovano & Trio Tapestry, GARDEN OF EXPRESSION (ECM)3. Ack van Rooyen, 90 (Jazzline)4. Teus Nobel Liberty Group. PLEASURE IS THE MEASURE, LIVE AT PARADOX TILBURG (Nobel Music)5. Giovanni Guidi, OJOS DE GATO (CAM Jazz)6. Joel Frahm, THE BRIGHT SIDE (Anzic Records)7. James Brandon Lewis Red Lily Quintet, JESUP WAGON (Tao Forms)8. Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas Sound Prints, OTHER WORLDS (Greenleaf Music)9. QOW Trio, THE ALBUM (Ubuntu Music)10. Bill…
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Arts Westchester Preview — “August 29 – Bird’s 99th Birthday Bash! Featuring Gary Smulyan”

Lyndhurst Estate 635 South Broadway Tarrytown, NY The grounds open at 4:30 pm, music begins at 6:30 pm. There is a $5 per person parking fee. The site is also accessible by walking the Old Croton Aqueduct trail. Dogs are allowed on-leash. Concerts are on the west lawn overlooking the Hudson River. Rain call made by 3 pm the day of and announced on this page, on Facebook, and our Instagram stories. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets or low-profile lawn chairs and may bring or purchase a…
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Gary's Music

See all of Gary's albums