Meet George Garzone, A Saxophone Zen Master, on The Checkout Live at Berklee

Nov 19, 2019

Saxophonist and educator George Garzone may not be well known outside of Boston, but if you ask any woodwind player at the Berklee College of Music, he’s nothing short of a jazz legend.

Over the last four decades, Garzone has taught hundreds, maybe thousands, of aspiring woodwind players. Joshua Redman, Mark Turner and Branford Marsalis are just a few of his former pupils. And he holds down one of the longest-running residencies in jazz at The Lily Pad in Cambridge. Every Monday he plays there with The Fringe, an unruly free jazz trio. His tenure there has made heavy impressions on some of his longtime fans, like baritone saxophonist Claire Daly. (In 2012 she wrote a heart-warming tribute for NPR Music.)

This edition of The Checkout Live at Berklee focuses on Garzone the educator – and how he’s been able to absorb the entirety of the jazz saxophone tradition in his playing. You can hear it through his horn, the way he’s able to pivot from Stan Getz to Coleman Hawkins to Albert Ayler, all in the same set. 

Watch Garzone with the Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors, performing his composition “There’s Snow Place Like Home.”

In the podcast, Garzone reflects on his Zen-master approach to teaching. We’ll also get a glimpse of his trademark method of saxophone improvising, the Triadic Chromatic Approach — a formula gleaned from binge-listening to John Coltrane. 

Last October, the saxophonist joined The Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors for a special concert entitled The World of Garzone, a concert that surveys his career as a composer.

The Berklee Global Jazz Amassadors are: Ilya Blazh on drums (Russia), Milena Casado on flugelhorn and trumpet (Spain), Faris Ishaq on Arabic flute (Palestine), Nick Isherwood (U.S.A.), Anastassiya Petrova on acoustic and Fender Rhodes piano (Kazakhstan), Matt Stubbs on clarinet (U.S.A.), and Noam Tanzer on bass (Israel).

This Wednesday at 8 p.m., join us for our next Checkout Live at Berklee webcast with Tom Oren, the young Israeli jazz pianist and winner of the 2018 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Piano Competition.

Subscribe to The Checkout on SpotifyStitcherApple Music, and Google Play.

Producer and Host: Simon Rentner
Audio Mix: David Tallacksen
Video: Berklee Video Services and Corey Goldberg