Genres:Easy Listening, Jazz - Latin , Jazz - JazzPop/Light Jazz, Jazz - Free/Avant-Garde, Jazz - Bebop/Traditional, Latin - Jazz
A Brief Sketch of Paul Serrato - Musician and Composer
This Omaha, Nebraska native began his musical studies at the age of ten at the keys of the family piano. A small shortwave radio and the bopping grooves of jazz would stimulate an intense interest in the language of music. By the time he was a teenager, Serrato was composing his own songs, while also dedicating his studies to classical repertory and solo performance. It didn''t take long for this young talent to discover he had an ear for lyric composition.
After graduating high school, Serrato attended Boston University for two semesters - but the proximity of New York City lured him away. The vitality of the New York jazz scene, particularly the singers and pianists, had a lasting effect on his composing and performance style.
He began providing music for the thriving off-off Broadway theater movement, and was recognized for bringing a jazz feel and attitude to the downtown musical.
During the 1960s and 70s several Andy Warhol Superstars performed his songs extensively in shows and cabarets. In the 1980s, Serrato began experimenting with fusion and combo composition. Of special interest was the interaction of not just the musicians, but the instruments themselves. The result was a piano voice that extended the music beyond the arrangements.
In 1990-91 Serrato produced Nexus, a debut album of varied moods and styles, including jazz, funk, and rap - all strongly evocative of the urban scene. The song lyrics have a social, sometimes dark edge. Media interest and radio play led to continued releases by his company, Graffiti Productions.
Shortly after the release of Nexus, the pianist began sharing ideas in a "workshop situation" that encouraged a diverse group of musicians to collectively master charts and arrangements in both the practice room and live setting. This cluster of New York working artists is represented in his 1996 release, Neon Palm Tree, a continuum of performances in the period since Nexus. Neon Palm Tree was described by Serrato as a "multi-urbanicious" statement, diverse in both content and presentation.
In January, 2002, More Than Red was independently released on Serrato''s Graffiti Productions label, and almost instantly found a niche on jazz radio across the nation, demonstrating critic Turiya Mareya''s observation of "what high quality music unsigned bands can produce." The acoustic piano vibe, Afro-Cuban licks and Latin percussion struck a chord with jazz and blues listeners alike. The record steadily climbed the Yellow Dog Jazz Chart, maintaining its niche for three months, and was included in Jason Crane''s (WGMC Jazz Radio, Rochester, NY) list of the twenty best jazz releases of 2002.
Serrato''s fourth release, Origami (2004), would show yet another side of this dynamic artist. Featuring a mix of world rhythm, flowing melodies, piano blues and just plain straight-ahead swing, this Graffiti Productions project would be greeted by critics with rave reviews. "Paul Serrato takes the raw material of his life''s journey and tells his story that is growing more joyful and richer with time,"
How does this biographer of melodies sum up his own work? "Art Tatum said that every piano player has their own story to tell. We could extend that to every composer, group or ensemble. I channel my own feelings and emotions into what I write and perform - the music."