Born: May 28, 1962 Primary Instrument: Trombone
Infinite Search, the Max Perkoff Band, the brand new CD by the Max Perkoff Band, represents Max Perkoff's most compelling project to date. That's saying a lot, for as a trombonist, pianist, composer and bandleader, Max Perkoff is a musician of grace, depth and impressive achievement, with several striking recordings as a leader to his name, and a recent chart-busting collaboration with trombone great Roswell Rudd. Perkoff has impressive bloodlines, as well; he's the son of pianist Si Perkoff, one of the founding fathers of San Francisco bebop.
The Max Perkoff Band will celebrate the release of Infinite Search with a performance at Jazz at Pearl's on Thursday, April 12, 2007. Jazz at Pearl's (www.jazzatpearls.com) is located at 256 Columbus Avenue in the heart of San Francisco's North Beach District. Shows are at 8:00 and 10:00 pm, with doors opening at 7:30.
A stimulating ride with fascinating surprises around every corner, Infinite Search provides testimony to Perkoff's range as a trombonist and a pianist and to the skill of his crackling, extremely versatile band. Perkoff's trombone sound is bright, vital, and full of invention, and his piano work is supple and alive. The Max Perkoff group is an incendiary ensemble of high-test players including guitarist Randy Vincent, bassist Sam Bevan and drummer Paul van Wageningen. The artists interact with an empathetic, group-first sensibility that lends the music an intimate, heartfelt depth. Comprised entirely of originals, Infinite Search also admirably presents Max Perkoff, composer.
Ultimately, it's the stylistic range and downright fearlessness of Perkoff and his bandmates that truly distinguishes Infinite Search. The group combines the provocative exploratory qualities of John Coltrane with the take-no-prisoners brashness of the Bad Plus.
Perkoff refers to the ensemble as a concert group and party band rolled into one. In fact, straight- ahead jazz, R&B, free-form improvisation, World and folk music all shine brightly through the band's musical prism. The key, here, is the successful forging of this eclecticism into a cohesive artistic statement. Perkoff and crew accomplish that goal with aplomb. From the gently probing post-bop dance of the title track to the joyous funk sashay of Cookin' for 20, to the mainstream romp of New Life, the band never repeats itself and never strikes a false note. Singer Cami Thompson, with whom Perkoff has been collaborating for more than 14 years, contributes an exquisite vocal on the ballad, Waiting, that provides Infinite Search its subtle emotional touchstone.
It's not hard to understand where Max Perkoff gets his groove from. As previously noted, his father, Si Perkoff, is a lion of San Francisco jazz, for years the house pianist at the legendary Fillmore bebop cauldron, Jimbo's Bop City. Musicians like Elvin Jones and Thelonious Monk would regularly drop by the Perkoff household. As Perkoff recently told interviewer Maxwell Chandler, By the time I was old enough to buy my own records I was already a jazzer, in love with Billie Holiday, worshiping Bird, Bud, Diz, Basie, Louis, Duke and everyone else.
Infinite Search is just the latest in a string of creative successes for Max Perkoff. I n 2004, he took part in the aforementioned collaboration with Roswell Rudd. The two trombonists teamed up to join the Monk's Music Trio, featuring Perkoff's dad, Si, on the highly acclaimed CD, Monk's Bones, which reached #10 on the national jazz radio play charts in 2006. Thomas Conrad of JazzTimes said, If this record doesn't make you grin like a fool, you're a grinch. And Cory Cunningham of the International Trombone Association Journal added, With some edgy arrangements and new ideas, Monk's Bones sets itself apart from the pack in any jazz trombone CD collection.
In 2005, Perkoff joined with his father to release Amazing Space, a shimmeringly beautiful trombone/ piano duo album. The freshness of the instrumentation and vitality of the playing allowed the two Perkoffs to create new vistas for classics like Charlie Parker's Au Privave and Billie Holiday's God Bless the Child, and to work wonders with a lovely set of originals.
In addition, Perkoff lends his performance, arranging and direction skills to an array of highly successful jazz/cabaret shows, including an acclaimed tribute to Oscar Brown, Jr. by vocalist Linda Kosut and Drunk with Love, singer Terese Genecco's raucous salute to cabaret legend Francis Faye. The busy Perkoff is also a regular contributor to the bustling San Francisco blues scene, often joining the band of his cousin, renowned San Francisco blues saxman Ben King Perkoff. His sideman gigs on recordings of all kinds are too numerous to mention here, but his latest appearance is on Gerald Beckett's Flute Vibes on Summit Records (2006), a release that reached #14 on the national jazz radio play list.
It seems clear that Perkoff has, indeed, launched himself upon an Infinite Search. But the scope of the endeavor is only fitting for a musician with the talent, range and ingenuity of Max Perkoff. Infinite Search is available at CD Baby.
...while playing piano, he exhibits the expertise and ease of a natural musician. --Tom W. Kelly, San Francisco Bay Times
Max Perkoff's Nights With Lady Day played Saturday night at Pacifica's Sanchez Concert Hall and from note one, the audience strolled back to the rhythms of Swing Era sweet while keeping their temperature in the hip and now. --Jean Bartlett, Pacifica Tribune
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Mill Valley, CA
Willing to teach:
12 Years classroom teaching experience. k-13 Instrumental Music Teaching Credential, San Francisco State University. 1993-98: Mill Valley School District, California. 1998-2001: Novato School District, California. Current: Private teaching studio + educational workshops in schools. Grants received from the Marin Arts Council & International Association of Jazz Educators. As a performer, I remain commited to educational projects with students worldwide.