John Gunther- Multiple Personalities

Two years ago I brought John Gunther out to Portland from NYC. We played a few nights at the Brasserie, he did a clinic at PSU and I took him into the TV studio for a shoot. John is at NYU teaching and working on a doctorate. He got his undergrad degree from Berklee where he studied with Garzone and Joe Viola. After that he went down to Miami and got a masters degree while commuting to NYC to study with Lovano, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts. He played in my Latin-jazz Quintet while I was living in New York. John is about the just about the most well rounded and professional saxophonists I've ever met. He plays tenor, alto, soprano, flute and clarinet, each one like it was his main axe. He also composes his ASS off. He always has a bunch of totally different musical projects going at the same time. These bands are all over the map. Groups like the Jazz trio Spooky Actions that improvises on Anton Webern cannons, an original classical duo with pianist Richard Thomson, the small ensemble Jazz Convergence, his avant-bop group Axis Mundi, and his Jazz quartet with Strings called String Theory.

Gunther is prolific as a leader, sideman and composer. I used to do club dates in NYC with him and he knew all the horn parts for every Motown, Disco, Top-40, Rock, and funk tune by heart. I could never really get into playing Boogie-oogie-oogie enough to do it right, but John could slip into any style in a split-second and sound just like the record. That's a true professional.

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