Style: Jazz, Rock, R&B, Funk, Latin, Classical
Education: Bachelor of Music in Music Performance from Kent State
MM in Jazz Performance from Manhattan School of Music
Bobby Selvaggio is one of the leading voices on
alto sax in today's Jazz scene. In the words of two of todays
main figures in Jazz: Kenny Werner - ".....Bobby is among the best
of players out there...." and Joe Lovano - ".....Bobby is one of
the few young saxophonists on the scene today that captures you
with his strong presence, focus, and sound.......". Bobby
plays alto and soprano sax, alto clarinet, flute, is a bandleader
of multiple projects, composer and arranger, Jazz clinician, and
has a personal teaching studio. After living in New York City
for 4 years, gigging all over the city at such places as the
Vanguard and Birdland, and getting a Masters in Jazz Performance
from Manhattan School of Music, Bobby moved back to Cleveland with
his family and has recorded 5 CD's, booked gigs and tours with his
various bands, is continually creating new musical projects, and is
writing a book on Jazz Improvisation. Besides his busy music
schedule, Bobby enjoys spending time with his wife Chelsea, son
Julian, and cats Mingus and Maisy.
"Bobby Selvaggio is one of the few young saxophonists on the
scene today that captures you with his strong presence, focus, and
sound. He carries you with him on his journey through these
original compositions and has put together a fantastic group for
his new release. I've known Bobby for some time and it's very
exciting for me to hear his development, and see his passion and
drive through the years grow and grow……Carry on Bobby!!!!
That's what it takes."
"Bobby's CD was really something special. It's not often
that a composer sets up tunes and situations that make the band and
every soloist sound special, but once we understood Bobby's
compositions, each and every one of them started to make us sound
brilliant. Also, for my money, Bobby is among the best of
players out there!"
Track - Whirlwind
Artist - Bobby Selvaggio (soprano sax and
CD - Modern Times (Arabesque Recordings AJ0190)
Musicians: Bobby Selvaggio - soprano sax, Kenny Werner - piano,
Matt Wigton - bass, Nathan Douds - drums.
Recorded: July 2008
Rating: 88/100 (Very solid and worth checking out)
Bobby Selvaggio wanted to write a demanding tune that takes its
cues from Wayne Shorter and his present-day quartet.
Composing something like this is one thing, but performing it
must have been another chore entirely. Fortunately for Selvaggio,
the band was up to the task, and this recording of "Whirlwind" is
their first take. The group collectively puts accents on
beats at irregular spots, playing whack-a-mole all over the melody.
Even when Selvaggio improvises, he somehow maintains the
presence of mind to drop in those scattered pulses in the middle of
some pretty involved soloing. If you listen closely enough,
you can hear Werner simultaneously doing the same kind of
multitasking. Despite the jagged rhythms, the harmony lands
on its feet after every somersault. Impish strains like this
one are such a gas.
Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron, Downbeat Jazz Magazine October
CD - Unspoken Dialogue (Playscape Recordings)
Artist - Bobby Selvaggio (alto and soprano sax)
Reviewed by John Ephland: 3 ½ Stars
"Fronting a capable and sensitive quintet, alto/soprano
saxophonist Selvaggio bends the rules to his advantage. On
the set's nine tunes ( all Selvaggio's except "Alone Together" ),
there's a nice blend of straight ahead jazz with some Latin
configurations, odd time signatures, and ballads. But the
arrangements make the difference. Take the opener, "Forgotten
Man". Sporting a swinging, halting nature, with fine solos
from trumpeter Paul Tynan and Kenny Werner on piano, it's a tip-off
to what follows: music that's thoughtful, slyly subversive, perhaps
a wee bit delicate, but hardly conventional."
Toledo Blade Review
Reviewed by Tom Henry
Briefly Noted MODERN TIMES Bobby Selvaggio (Arabesque Jazz)
"Cleveland-based saxophonist Bobby Selvaggio is not a household
name. But any musician who can pull you into a trance the way he
does is worthy of recognition. Working off some fine original
compositions that explore many of the delicious nuances of jazz,
from cool backbeat rhythms and hearty tempos to an intricate use of
pauses, he also offers a fair amount of ad-libbing and improv." -
All About Jazz / NY
Modern Times Bobby Selvaggio (Arabesque)
by Donald Elfman
"I had the good fortune of releasing an album by the Cleveland
legend, late accordionist Pete Selvaggio, and it seems that his
son, saxophonist Bobby, has inherited his father's passion. On
Modern Times he comes out swinging in a multi-colored affair that
suggests how much he has heard and how deftly he blends solid
instrumental dexterity with a sense of composition. The album kicks
into gear with the original "Quick Solutions", written with Sean
Jones in mind. Jones had worked for two years in Cleveland
with the leader's octet and is powerfully in the center of this
tune. He and Selvaggio have bold solo sections and find invention
in the midst of the fire. Jones is also central to the sinuously
funky "Timbuktu Step", a Middle Eastern-flavored groove. He gets
through the quirky theme with ease and later solos with beautiful
grace while Selvaggio slices and dices through a piece that sounds
both simple and complicated at once. As the set proceeds, one
becomes thoroughly impressed with the rhythm section: pianist Kenny
Werner masters everything from collective improvisation to complex
chord changes all without seeming to break a sweat, and bassist
Matt Wigton and drummer Nathan Douds offer propulsive and lyrical
support. Selvaggio lets the influence of past greats like
Cannonball and Phil Woods glow through his playing but also makes
it quite clear that his own voice is creative and original."
All About Jazz
Modern Times - Bobby Selvaggio - Arabesque Records
By Jim Santella
"Alto saxophonist Bobby Selvaggio carries an expressive torch
when he fronts this ensemble. His fifth CD as leader brings nine
original pieces and a cover of "You've Changed" into the
improvisation arena for a program of acoustic modern jazz that
ranges from quirky and dynamic to bluesy and frank. His fluid tone
and easygoing articulation carry the alto and soprano on a journey
that respects tradition while pumping new energy into the scene.
Selvaggio leaps with high-octane drive on numerous romps and
simmers gently with passion on the session's ballads.
A few expressive squeals and experienced blue tones help the
leader to create his message with class. He and trumpeter Sean
Jones interpret "More or Less" with an authentic legacy that
recalls Cannonball Adderley feeling down home and pretty much at
ease. Along with piano, double bass and background drums, the
quintet shines enthusiastically in its candor. Walking bass and an
economical rhythm make this track stand out as an automatic
favorite. The same happens with "Fastfood Wisdom," which provides
sparks for Selvaggio's quintet in a flurry of expressive
conversation. This unit has plenty to say, and it's all highly
Selvaggio's title track takes a dreamy situation and allows it
to ramble with lethargy as a tired soul with moaning interest.
Other selections, such as "Out of Time" and "Timbuktu Step," follow
a quicker pace that provides spontaneity and refreshing solace.
Selvaggio moves randomly through a field where nothing stays the
same as he lifts the music and shares it with his fellow artists in
a show of rhythmic variety.
Pianists Kenny Werner and Dan Murphy add considerably to the
leader's modern jazz session by planting its harmonic foundation
and stretching out with creative solo work. Selvaggio enjoys the
interplay and smokes alongside their stellar support. Each track
contains a new surprise that finds the saxophonist and his musical
partners carrying the jazz torch over uncharted territory."
Track listing: Quick Solutions; Timbuktu Step; You've Changed;
Whirlwind; Waiting; More or Less; Out of Time; Fastfood Wisdom;
Time Being; Modern Times.
Personnel: Bobby Selvaggio: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone
(4, 5, 10); Kenny Werner: piano (3-5, 7, 9, 10); Sean Jones:
trumpet (1, 2, 6, 8); Matt Wigton: bass; Nathan Douds: drums; Dan
Murphy: piano; Paul Tynan: flugelhorn.
Style: Modern Jazz
Published: July 26, 2009
review by Randall Parrish
"Bobby Selvaggio provides a formidable assortment of musical
delicacies on his most current release entitled Modern Times.
Selvaggio is a superb saxophonist whose compositional
approach to Modern Jazz fully allows each member of his ensemble
adequate space to speak his own voice. He is an inspired
leader, not timid in allowing his companion musicians occasion to
step forward and display improvisational skills and wide-ranging
influences. The end product is a very interesting set,
covering various moods and textures with style and flair.
The opening song, "Quick Solutions," features some nimble
shifting rhythms courtesy of Matt Wigton on bass and Nathan Douds
on drums. A powerfully vigorous dialogue between Bobby
Selvaggio on tenor sax and Sean Jones on trumpet is spirited, and
highly enjoyable. The abundantly engaging "Timbuktu Step"
follows and conjures up mind images of distant dark places.
African camel caravans, Indian snake charmers, and other
richly surreal foreign scenes come to mind thanks to the
effectively arranged horn section paired with the exotic time
progressions on this instrumental tale.
The songs "Whirlwind" and "Waiting" both epitomize what makes
Bobby Selvaggio and his group special. These compositions
contain complex saw-toothed rhythms and intricate soloing; tied
firmly together by way of all members of the group perfectly in
sync with every irregular syncopated beat fashioning fantastic and
expressive musical curtains.
The lone non-original composition contained on Modern Times is
the attractive standard "You've Changed." The tune is
restructured and features some pleasing piano by wizard Kenny
Werner in support of Selvaggio whose sweet sax tones massage the
melody. Werner's skilled presence benefits six of the ten
tracks on the disc, and in particular, he provides emotionally
affecting piano on "Waiting."
A very charming exploration of some earlier Jazz styles is
scrutinized on the composition "More Or Less." The resourceful horn
duo of Sean Jones and Selvaggio once again confirm their incredible
compatibility while Dan Murphy on piano in conjunction with the
rhythm section of Wigton and Douds impart appealing sensitivity to
the mix; all making "More Or Less" deeply engaging.
The group sets off into free-form jazz territory on "Fastfood
Wisdom," a piece of music inspired by Ornette Coleman. It
opens with a wide, sprawling melody containing an uncluttered,
spacious feel despite non-stop manic percussion. The tune
takes somewhat frenzied and turbulent turns along the way, allowing
each member liberties to distend and reach out creatively.
Modern Times ends with the title track, an exquisite
contemplative unrushed melody, driven gently by pianist Kenny
Werner in the midst of the rises and falls of a resonant upright
bass. Selvaggio appears inspired by the great melodic saxophonists
such as Stan Getz, as his performance on this song is superbly
passionate and heartfelt. Lushly eloquent, "Modern Times," is
a lovely finale.
Bobby Selvaggio has assembled an impressive array of artistic
musicians for Modern Times. The combined display of stellar
musicianship coupled with the sophisticatedly presented imaginative
arrangements makes for a heady and savvy musical adventure.
In simple terms; Modern Times is an innovative and
(to buy CD Modern Times) http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Times-Bobby-Selvaggio/dp/B002AT8BGO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1245679586&sr=1-1
(Video w/ Kenny Werner) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D70QhNFFlog
~ Be soft in your practice. Think of the melody as a
fine silvery stream, not a raging waterfall. Follow the stream,
have faith in it's course. It will go on it's way, meandering here,
trickling there. It will find the grooves, the cracks, the
crevices. Just follow it. Never let it out of your sight. It will
take you ~ Sheng-yen