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David Sherr

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Primary Instrument: Composer/conductor

I was born in 1941 and have lived in Chicago, Baltimore, Tulsa, New York and LA, mostly LA. These days I divide my time between Santa Monica, California, and Lynbrook, New York. I began to play the clarinet and saxophone in high school, took up the flute in 1960 and the oboe (at the instigation of Plas Johnson) in 1966. Composition came later.

In 1960 I moved to Tulsa and after a brief period with a band that made some pretty funny sounds, I joined the Ernie Fields Orchestra. Ernie's band had existed since the early 1930s, flirted with success briefly in the 1940s, and even won the Pittsburgh Courier poll in 1947 over the Ellington and Basie bands. (The Courier was then the most widely circulated African-American newspaper in the country.) By the late 1950s the band had shrunk to eight pieces and a remarkable singer, Ann Walls. In 1959 a former member of the band, René Hall, arranged a swing era tune, In The Mood, recorded it with Hollywood studio musicians, and released it under Ernie's name. The record became a hit and revitalized the band, if only briefly....
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”...David Sherr's CD is extraordinary. His playing reveals a musicality and artistry that is not common.” Lalo Schifrin, composer, arranger, pianist, conductor

“...an imaginative, well-executed project of music.” Bill Kirchner, musician, composer, arranger, editor (The Oxford Companion To Jazz, A Miles Davis Reader, etc.)

“I am listening to your CD and it is very interesting. The French speaking part brings a change of pace that warrants close listening to connect it to the whole concept. I especially like your clarinet work...” Ellis Marsalis, pianist, pedagogue, patriarch

“I'm impressed by the obvious depth of commitment and dedication to excellence of you, as writer and performer, and of all the other participants. The writing is beautifully done and much of the improvisation is startlingly good. The CD glows with musicianship and fervor.” Robert Freedman, Grammy winning (for Wynton Marsalis's Hot House Flowers), composer/arranger

“Lacks musicianship and a range of styles.” Robert Blumenthal, critic, record company executive

“Your Otherworld Music CD is awesome! Congratulations: the concept, the organization, the writing and the playing.” Gerald Fried, composer of concert and film music (Star Trek, Roots, The first five Stanley Kubrick Movies, [Paths of Glory etc.]) musician (principal oboe, Dallas Symphony, solo English horn, Pittsburgh Symphony)

“Your CD is amazing! I've listened to it a number of times and am finding new thought provoking and delightful moments each time.

“The playing is spectacular. I don't think that I've heard any of the performers (all of whom are my friends) play with more feeling, intention, focus and emotion. True virtuosi. As the music flows, the players respond to one another in a fashion that I have not heard in many years. True genius.” Joel Di Bartolo, bassist (The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson), educator (Director of Jazz Studies, Northern Arizona University)

“California saxophonist and composer David Sherr's music is like the meal one receives at that well conceived multi-ethnic restaurant. It delights with such unexpected entree combinations that work so well together, the patrons must reconsider their idea of what is good. Sherr is never one to shy away from a challenge and he and the Bel Air Jazz Ensemble make it work. Otherworld Music is indeed otherworldly.” C. Michael Bailey, allaboutjazz.com

“Fabulous! Invigorating music and fresh ideas always makes a good mix!” Nika Rejto, flutist, arranger, composer, vocalist

Great album. Fascinating combination of classical and the avant-garde. Marc Myers, jazzwax.com

“I listened to your CD and enjoyed it very much. I appreciate the fact that you did exactly what you wanted to do without any bow to conventions and current fashion. Congratulations on a unique project.” Randy Sandke, trumpeter, composer, arranger, leader

“This is music full of rich satisfactions, more of which become apparent on successive hearings. If Sherr attracts the attention he should with this unconventional and intriguing project on an obscure label, we will undoubtedly be hearing more from him.” Doug Ramsey, Rifftides

“...you have no idea where this disc is going to take you next.

“The kicker is: it works. David Sherr can make the Bel Air Jazz Ensemble sound like his music regardless that the music’s original DNA was Bach or Messiaen. To borrow from Homer Simpson, Otherworld Music is “sacrilicious.”

“David Sherr’s music is equally beautiful when he is not functioning as a co-composer. The no-nonsense jazz style of A Little Flight Music is energetic but with a light touch. To the Muses is a soulful saxophone feature that oozes with gratitude and tenderness. If I could do what Sherr does, I’d be thanking the muses, too.” Jay Batzner, Sequenza 21 ”...an unusual recording that places Luciano Berio's modernist works alongside the jazzy musings of composer David Sherr. The Art Music Ensemble shows its versatility in this disc, giving both high quality jazz and contemporary classical performances.” Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Chamber Music

“Sherr's saxophone is warm and his ideas thoughtful. His treatments of the Sequenzas for oboe and clarinet are as revealing as the one for flute...a stunning soundscape. Overall, this is a very texture-driven recording with many hidden corners and treasures. Recommended for the Postmodern or the not so Postmodern among us.” C. Michael Bailey, allaboutjazz.com

“Show us a recording that takes its inspiration from Luciano Berio's Sequenzas and the first 13 notes of Charlie Parker's riff on 'The Song Is You' and we'll show you an album that we flat-out love. These guys seriously cook.” Jerry Bowles, Sequenza 21

“An intriguing new sound world--provoking juxtaposition and integration of jazz and contemporary music.” Joan Jeanrenaud, Kronos Quartet

“Extremely innovative.” Bill Watrous, trombonist

“Berio’s 'Sequenzas' are interesting atonal works, all convincingly delivered by Sherr on flute (”Sequenza I”), oboe (”Sequenza VII”) and clarinet (”Sequenza IXa”). Sherr's “Sequenza VII/Palimpsest” is a lush accompaniment for Berio's piece. Convincingly delivered...clever compositional derivation.” Francois Couture, All Music Guide

Sherr’s Debussy Deb-You-Do, partly written, partly improvised, supplies a missing link between Berio and Dizzy Gillespie. Tastefully accomplished. Julian Cowley, The Wire

Berio's series of Sequenza works for solo instruments, important 20th-century classics, are well represented on this CD with 'Sequenza I' (1958), for flute, 'Sequenza VII' (1969), for oboe, and 'Sequenza IXa' (1980), for clarinet. cdemusic.com

Beautifully played. Roger Kellaway, pianist and composer

“Beautifully written and played. And of course, beyond category.” Bill Kirchner, musician, composer, arranger, editor (The Oxford Companion To Jazz, A Miles Davis Reader, etc.)

“Ugh.” ”Doctor Dan” Warburton, Paris Transatlantic

“Definitive” (Sequenza VII) Pamela Liszt Pecha, musician (asst. 1st oboe, Cleveland Orch., solo English horn, San Antonio Symphony Orch.), conductor

...a series of stunning juxtapositions...fine performances, state of the art from Sherr himself in all three cases. The oboe Sequenza is particularly alarming with its multiphonics and microtones, coming off as decidedly “modern” with respect to the later works. A fantastic performance of a fantastic piece. Mark Alburger, 21st Century Music

“...a great interpreter and technical artist.” Patric Standford, Music & Vision

“In a world where there is so much that is negative, how vibrant is the rediscovery of man’s ability to be creative, original and daring!” Jennifer Paull, MusicWeb International

  • BUY

    Otherworld Music

    Bel Air Jazz
    2008
  • BUY

    Tribute

    JRI Recordings
    2008

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Selmer Mk VI soprano and tenor saxes. Yamaha Custom 875S and Selmer "Radio Improved" alto saxes. Buffet Baritone sax. Haynes and Powell piccolos. Haynes and Powell flutes. Muramatsu alto flute. Moennig bass flute. Buffet E-flat, B-flat, A and bass clarinets. Loree oboes. Loree and Rigoutat English horns. Rigoutat oboe d'amore.

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Tribute by C. Michael Bailey

Otherworld Music by C. Michael Bailey

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