Born: March 31, 1951 Primary Instrument: Reeds
Saxophonist/clarinetist Harvey Wainapel (pronounced “wine-apple”) has performed with the likes of McCoy Tyner, Joe Lovano, Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck, Joe Henderson, and Johnny Coles. Besides working with these and numerous other leaders, Wainapel has toured extensively under his own name, and has performed in 22 countries. His heavy involvement with the music of Brazil has led to performances with top-level musicians such as Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, Dori Caymmi, Guinga, and Jovino Santos Neto.
Wainapel’s third CD, The Hang, received a glowing 4-star review from Down Beat magazine, and features pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Larry Grenadier, trumpeter Phil Grenadier, and drummer Kenny Wollesen. His previous release, Ambrosia: The Music of Kenny Barron, was recorded with Holland’s 60-piece Metropole Orchestra. A Jazziz Magazine review of Ambrosia says the CD “offers a better case for concert-hall jazz than many a ‘Jazz at Lincoln Center’ affair.” Wainapel’s first release, At Home/On the Road, recorded live on tour in Europe, was described by Cadence as “music that can be played again and again; a clear winner.” A duo CD entitled New Choros of Brazil, recorded in São Paulo with master guitarist Paulo Bellinati, was released 2004. Wainapel’s most recent CD, Amigos Brasileiros, was also recorded in Brazil, featuring a cast of forty of that country’s most talented composers and instrumentalists.
Saxophone master Joe Lovano says, “Wainapel plays with the performance attitude which for me is what jazz and improvisation is all about. It’s a pleasure to listen to Harvey’s soulful interpretations.” Latin music great Bobby Sanabria calls Harvey “one of the most overlooked and talented voices on soprano, alto, and tenor today.” Brazilian icon Ivan Lins enthuses “Harvey undersands Brazilian music in a way that’s very unusual; he’s got the spirit, he’s a great musician!” Brazil’s major newspaper O Globo, reviewing a live performance in Rio de Janeiro, writes “Wainapel displayed incredible intimacy with the language of Brazilian music, and great stage presence.” Japan’s Jazz Life calls Wainapel “a musician with his own unique and deep sound.” A favorite of critics, musicians and fans, Wainapel was nominated for two BAMMY (Bay Area Music) Awards: Outstanding Reed Player and Outstanding Jazz Musician. (The short list of fellow nominees included Joe Henderson, Peter Apfelbaum and Charlie Hunter.)
Originally from upstate New York, Wainapel studied at Berklee College of Music for two years, during which time he recorded (and performed at Carnegie Hall) with vibist Gary Burton. Following a two-month tour of Tunisia, Wainapel settled in Europe for five years, including one year with the German Radio Big Band in Frankfurt. Soon after returning to New York, Wainapel was hired by singer Ray Charles for a ten-month world tour, and then moved to San Francisco. Wainapel has been a key contributor to the Bay Area jazz scene for more than 25 years, as well as maintaining an ongoing international impact.
Although his main activity is performing, Wainapel has been generous in sharing the experience gained in a career spanning nearly thirty years; for fifteen years, beginning in the mid-1980s, he was on the Jazz faculty at Sonoma State University and the Stanford Jazz Workshop, and currently continues giving workshops around the world<