“a disciple of swing and improvisation…”
PJ Perry has shared the stage with countless jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Shaw, Michel LeGrand, Pepper Adams, Kenny Wheeler, Tom Harrell, Rob McConnell, Slide Hampton, Herb Spanier, Bobby Shew, Fraser McPherson, Tommy Banks, Joe LaBarbera, Clarence “Big” Miller, Red Rodney and many more talented artists, too numerous to list here. Recently, he was a featured soloist on the hit 2010 Broadway production of Come Fly Away, highlighting the songs of Frank Sinatra and the choreography of Twyla Tharpe.
In 2007 PJ was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Alberta.
In autumn of 1999 Justin Time Records released a JUNO-nominated recording of PJ and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. PJ Perry has become recognized by critics, colleagues and listeners as being one of North America’s premier saxophonists.
Winner of a 1993 JUNO Award for Best Jazz Recording for his album My Ideal, PJ has received Jazz Report magazine’s Critic’s Choice Award for Best Alto Sax for a record-breaking seven years; from 1993 to 1999.
In 2016 PJ Perry was awarded the Order of Canada by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.
“For the last several decades PJ Perry has set the standard for saxophone playing in Canada. He has provided guidance to generations of young musicians, inspiration to his peers, and thrilled audiences with his heartfelt and brilliant improvisations. I’m proud to be able to call PJ a friend and colleague.” −Phil Dwyer
Although I tend to think of alto-ist PJ Perry as Canada’s Sonny Stitt, a superior bop-oriented improviser. On Old Friends he is heard in a more intimate and melodic setting than usual. Teamed on duets with pianist Tommy Banks, Perry (who is heard on alto and tenor) plays extremely well on 16 high-quality songs. The repertoire, which includes such gems as Charlie Haden’s First Song, Joy Spring, Lee Morgan’s Ceora, Delilah and My Ideal, is filled with rich melodies for Perry to caress. He builds his solos off of the themes, adds to the music’s richness, and sounds relaxed throughout even when the tempo is faster. Tommy Banks’ thoughtful solos and tasteful accompaniment fit perfectly with PJ Perry which should not be too much of a surprise, since they first played together 50 years ago! On their first-ever duet album, PJ Perry and Tommy Banks create a classic, available from http://royaltyrecords.ca/. −Scott Yanow, May issue, Jazz Scene
“Sax man blows audience away!” −Sheila Keenan, The Daily News
“Simple eloquence − master of his craft.” −Stan Dunn, KJAZ San Francisco
“The man sparkled, serenaded, scorched and soothed the audience with his playing that is set on the most beautiful of tones.” −Peter North, Vue Weekly
“Top gun on the alto sax … melodies delievered with satisfying conviction.” −Geoff Chapman,Toronto Star
“Musicians as great as PJ aren’t a dime a dozen.” −Richard Chabesiew, Victoria Jazz Review
“Impassioned, intelligent and well-posed, one wonders; does it get any better?” −Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal
“PJ came and knocked us back in our seats … the whole orchestra jumping like a 727 leaping off the deck at full throttle … fluid improvisation … as eloquent as Shakespeare.” −Steven Pederson, Halifax Chonicle Herald
“Simple eloquence − master of his craft.” −Stan Dunn, KJAZ San Fransisco
“PJ Perry overjoys concertgoers with Joy of Sax. PJ Perry is considered to be Canada’s finest saxophonist. His intimate musical knowledge of the great 20th century composers, such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen and Duke Ellington, delights pops audiences all over the world. Fluid improvisation … as eloquent as Shakespeare.” −Steven Pederson, Halifax Chonicle Herald
“Pops concert perfect antidote to winter blahs … Saxophonist P.J Perry isn’t just a good player, he’s up there with the best. Perry has a veteran’s ear for phrase and elegance. Most highly recommended.” −Colleen Johnston
“…absolutely brilliant as a saxophone player.” −Bobby Hales, Jazz Street Vancouver
“Joy of Sax a lot more than jazz … Perry fashioned a wisely-judged program … Perry is an extremely versatile player.” −D.T. Baker, Special to The Edmonton Journal
“PJ Perry overjoys concertgoers with Joy of Sax … PJ came on and knocked us back in our seats … the whole orchestra jumping like a 727 leaping off the deck at full throttle … fluid improvisation as eloquent as Shakespeare.” −Stephen Pedersen, The Chronicle-Herald (Halifax)
“PJ Perry with the KSO. Sax man blows audience away. PJ Perry blew hot, he blew cool, and he blew the audience away. There was hooting, hollering and even whistling to cheer this fabulous performance. The entire concert was cool indeed.” −Sheila Keenan, The Daily News
“On his fourth album as leader, acclaimed saxophonist PJ Perry becomes a “crossover” artist of sorts, but instead of taking the low road, he takes the high one, collaborating with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and a few special guests to fashion a scintillating performance that combines the most enchanting aspects of jazz and classical music.
“Perry, who has logged time with Dizzy Gillespie, Michel Legrand, Red Rodney and Rob McConnell’s Boss Brass and Tentet, is as melodically impressive as he is technically polished, while the Edmonton Symphony, ably guided by orchestral-arranger Rick Wilkins, reminds one of the world-renowned Netherlands Metropole Orchestra whose “chamber jazz” collaborations with prominent soloists are widely acclaimed.
“After opening with an earnest homage to the legendary guitarist Django, Perry salutes the incomparable Bird with a Charlie Parker medley −The Song is You, April In Paris, They Can’t Take That Away From Me and Lover. Two other medleys, extolling ballads and the bossa nova, complement a series of winners including Earle Hagen’s soulful Harlem Nocturne, trumpeter Bob Tildesley’s fugue-like They kept Bach’s Head Alive and the peppery Gershwin flag-waver, Strike Up the Band.
“PJ Perry and the Edmonton Symphony form a wonderful alliance, and those who appreciate lovely melodies that swing shouldn’t overlook this album.” −CD Reviews – THE JAZZ REPORT Vol. 13 No. 3 …Jack Bowers, For The Record
- 1993 – JUNO Award for Best Jazz Album (My Ideal)
- 1993 – Winner of Jazz Report Magazine’s Critics’ Choice Award for Best Alto Saxophonist
- 1994 – Winner of Jazz Report Magazine’s Critics’ Choice Award for Best Alto Saxophonist
- 1995 – Winner of Jazz Report Magazine’s Critics’ Choice Award for Best Alto Saxophonist
- 1996 – Winner of Jazz Report Magazine’s Critics’ Choice Award for Best Alto Saxophonist
- 1997 – Winner of Jazz Report Magazine’s Critics’ Choice Award for Best Alto Saxophonist
- 1998 – Winner of Jazz Report Magazine’s Critics’ Choice Award for Best Alto Saxophonist
- 1999 – Winner of Jazz Report Magazine’s Critics’ Choice Award for Best Alto Saxophonist
- 2000 – JUNO Nominee for Best Traditional Jazz Album (PJ Perry & The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra)
- 2007 – Recipient of Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from the University of Alberta
- 2016 – Recipient of the Order of Canada