Saxophonist Gary Smulyan Joins WP Jazz Orchestra for October 29 Jazz Room Concert

Baritone saxophone virtuoso Gary Smulyan, considered one of the great improvisers on any instrument, joins the WP Jazz Orchestra as soloist for a fall Jazz Room series concert at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey on Sunday, October 29, 2023. The concert begins at 4 p.m. in the Shea Center for Performing Arts on campus.

Smulyan is the winner of 21 polls and awards over the last decade, including the 2022 Down Beat Critics Poll for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year, and is one of the main solo voices of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and the Joe Lovano Sextet. This concert matches Smulyan’s powerful voice with the exciting students of the William Paterson Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of David Demsey, William Paterson professor of music and coordinator of the Jazz Studies Program. The program will feature music arranged by Bob Brookmeyer, Pete McGuinness, Rich DeRosa, and Thad Jones, as well as the premieres of two WP graduate student arrangements of works by Smulyan’s baritone mentor, Pepper Adams.

The concert will be preceded by “Sittin’ In,” the Jazz Room’s accompanying “meet the artist” concert preview featuring interviews with jazz artists and guest speakers. This informal discussion, free to all Jazz Room ticketholders, begins at 3:00 p.m. in the Shea Recital Hall.

Tickets are $15 for the general public, $12 for WP faculty, staff, alumni, and senior citizens, $8 for non-WP students, and WP students are admitted free. Tickets are an additional $5 if purchased on show day. For tickets or additional information, visit, or contact the Shea Center Box Office at 973.720.2371 or

William Paterson University’s Jazz Room series is the longest-running program of its kind in the United States. Launched in 1978, the Jazz Room has welcomed more than 500 jazz legends to the stage, including Sonny Rollins, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Joe Williams, Marian McPartland, Slide Hampton, Kenny Burrell, Joe Lovano, Kenny Garrett, Clark Terry, Michael and Randy Brecker, the Vanguard Orchestra, and more. Concerts have encompassed the entire spectrum of jazz, from early jazz and swing to avant garde, and from intimate solo performances to big bands.

Upcoming performances include the multi-horn Spirit of Life Ensemble on Sunday, November 5; and saxophonist Steve Wilson on Sunday, December 3.

The performance series provides support for the University’s internationally renowned Jazz Studies Program, founded in 1973, and currently celebrating its 50th anniversary during 2023. The program draws students from across the United States and abroad under the current direction of Grammy Award-winning pianist Bill Charlap.

The Jazz Room at William Paterson University has been made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.