Gary Hassay came to my attention from the album Blackwater Bridge on Drimala records, featuring harpist Anne Lebaron. I was fascinated by the percussive sound of Hassay’s alto saxophone, which I thought was primitive and sophisticated at the same time.
Gary Hassay has been performing since 1979 with various groups, both as a leader and a sideman. His large ensemble, "Dr. Vincent Sakeeda's Attack Ensemble", founded in 1979, was a tour de force of free music which drew critical and public attention. Mr. Hassay has performed with musicians from throughout the world and is the President and a founding member of improvisationalmusicco., inc. (improvco), a not-for-profit corporation based in Allentown, Pa.
A solo album entitled "A Survivor's Smile" was released on the Dbops Music label in November, 1996. A beautiful recording Gary made for his wife Pamela while she was recovering from a grave illness.
In 1999 "Another Shining Path" was released on Drimala Records and received qualifications for Grammy awards in four categories. In March, 2002 Drimala Records released a duo cd "Blackwater Bridge" featuring harpist Anne LeBaron. Blackwater Bridge made the Grammy ballot in two different jazz instrumental categories, and has almost completely sold out. In late 2004 the new cd titled “Tribute To Paradise” with Gary Hassay and Ellen Christi was released on Drimala Records. “Tribute” is Gary Hassay's debut as a Tibetan style throat singer, and the disc is selling well while receiving great reviews. Dbops Music released a limited edition cd (alto sax/violin) entitled "Dbops Pollittics" in June, 2001.
"The New Lounge", is the name of one of Hassay's current musical projects (as,dm,gui). Another current project is a trio with pianist Dan De Chellis and percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani.
Hassay cites among his formative influences Hungarian Gypsy violin music, R&B/soul music, Albert Ayler, Jimi Hendrix, Peter Brötzmann and Evan Parker.
He has performed with musicians from throughout the world including Fred Frith, Andrew Cyrille, Gerry Hemingway, Anne LeBaron, Peter Broetzmann, William Parker, Tom Cora, Wadada Leo Smith, George Cartwright, Milford Graves, Paul Rogers, Jin Hi Kim, Toshi Makihara, Wittwulf Malik, Harry Beckett, Ellen Christi, Lenny Seidman, Chris Cochrane, Masahiko Kono, Davey Williams, LaDonna Smith, Keshavan Maslak, Michael Lytle, David Moss, Butch Morris, Jim Sauter, Don Dietrich, Donald Miller, Lukas Ligeti, Tatsuya Nakatani, Dan DeCellis, Evan Lipson, Helena Espvall-Santoleri, George Cremaschi, Douglas Ovens, Stanley Schumacher, and Soviet musicians Vyacheslav Gayvoronsky and Vladimir Volkov.
What critics says :
A Survivor’s Smile
Those unfamiliar with improv sax should use this as a starting point, because it has some of the best aural paintings I've heard in several years, truly music to your ears ! Rotcod Zzaj - The Improviser
Gary Hassay alto saxophone, Anne LeBaron harp & percussions, Harry Bertoia sound sculpture
Gary Hassay and Anne LeBaron perform a series of intimate and unpredictable duets on Blackwater Bridge. LeBaron's extended techniques on harp yield a unique repertory of buzzes, hisses, and drones along with the more usual strums and plucking sounds, an imaginative complement to Hassay's fervent yet controlled alto saxophone. Very intriguing and rewarding listening. Stuart Kremsky - IAJRC Journal Winter
Tribute to Paradise
Gary Hassay alto saxophone & Ellen Christi voice
Christi shows great versatility using mouth noises on "Mystery Within" and building to almost operatic intervallic leaps. "From the Beginning" is an excursion into long tones and "Anodyne" is an overdubbed tour-de-force that sounds like a virtual Hi-Los singing Ligeti. Hassay joins her on vocals on this cut and drops in a little throat singing, to startling effect. A richly satisfying effort that's just right in every way. John Chacona - Signal To Noise