Primary Instrument: Guitar
Viewing music through a wide-angle lens, Paul Hemmings blends elements of jazz, free improvisation, and world guitar styles to create a sound that has been called bold, beautiful, and full of promise. Based in New York City, Paul performs nationally and internationally as leader of The Paul Hemmings Trio, the dynamic guitar-bass-drum team he uses to interpret his own original compositions and renditions of modern standards. The group has released two albums on Leading Tone Records and recently finished recording their third, a collaboration with saxophonist John Tchicai.
For the past six years, Paul has performed at many venues throughout New York City, from uptown concert halls to downtown clubs, and has also performed in London, England; Sydney, Australia; and Wellington, New Zealand. Honing his craft all the while, Paul developed the warm, conversational style that Cadence magazine described as alternating between a lucid, unadulterated tone to a mildly delayed sound that hints at Bill Frisell [while] reflecting the influence of guitarists such as Wes Montgomery and Grant Green.
In 2003 Paul recorded In & Out, his first release on Leading Tone. The album features the robust tenor saxophone of Eric Alexander and garnered strong reviews for its superb renditions of jazz standards and Hemmings originals. His second release in 2006 was a marked departure: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Live!) was recorded at a concert where Hemmings and his trio performed their original interpretation of the classic Beatles album and saw the guitarist dig deeper into his bag of effects using pedals and samplers. The album currently enjoys widespread airplay on public radio stations in the US and in countries as far and wide as Columbia, France, Holland, and Australia.
Born in Huntington Beach, California, to an English father and an Australian mother, Paul received a Mickey Mouse snare drum for his third birthday and immediately decided to dedicate his life to making sounds. At age fourteen he began teaching himself to play the guitar by watching his father pick his own brand of English blues on an old Guild M-20. By age twenty, Paul had moved north to the San Francisco Bay area where he spent three years playing with avant-garde saxophone pioneer John Tchicai in his Sound and Poetry Source. At twenty-four, after a short stint sailing the high seas as guitarist in a dysfunctional cruise ship orchestra, Paul packed up his guitar and moved to New York City. He is presently on the faculty of the Third Street Music School Settlement in Manhattan's East Village and has also taught at the National Guitar Workshop.