P.J. Perry

In 1975 he moved to Edmonton, working extensively with Tommy Banks' jazz group, big band, and studio orchestra, with his own jazz band, and (on call) with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (he played the alto saxophone solo in that orchestra's recording of Ibert's suite Paris).


Perry, P.J.

 P.J. (Paul John) Perry (b Guloien). Saxophonist, flutist, b Calgary 2 Dec 1941. After playing piano and clarinet as a boy, he joined his father, Paul's, dance band at 14 as a baritone saxophonist. For several years he spent summers playing at Sylvan Lake, and winters working at such Vancouver nightclubs as the Cave (with, in turn, Chris Gage, Dave Robbins, Fraser MacPherson, and Bobby Hales) and the Cellar. He was a vigorous altoist in the bebop style by the time he moved in 1959 to Toronto, where he played in the jazz bands of Ron Collier, Sonny Greenwich, and others. In 1962 he was heard in Montreal in the quartet of Maury Kaye. After living 1963-6 in Europe, playing in London (notably with Annie Ross and Brian Auger), Nice, and Berlin, he returned to Vancouver. There he was a member 1972-5 of Pacific Salt.

In 1975 he moved to Edmonton, working extensively with Tommy Banks' jazz group, big band, and studio orchestra, with his own jazz band, and (on call) with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (he played the alto saxophone solo in that orchestra's recording of Ibert's suite Paris). He toured in Europe during the summer of 1979 as part of an RCI-sponsored concert party. Perry lived again 1981-4 in Toronto, where he appeared in clubs and/or in concert with the Boss Brass, Dizzy Gillespie, Slide Hampton, Woody Shaw, Herb Spanier, and others.

Returning to Edmonton, he resumed his affiliations with the Banks' big band and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, took extended duo engagements with pianists (Banks, Bill Emes, and others) in local restaurants (most notably the Strathcona Diner), and also made regular appearances in clubs in Calgary and Vancouver. In 1990 he toured the western Canadian jazz festival circuit with a quartet completed by Ron Johnston, Jerry Fuller, and the bassist Torben Oxbol. Perry's achievements have not been commensurate with his standing, as a technically complete and intensely expressive altoist, among the most compelling exponents of the bebop tradition in Canada.


Further Reading

  • 'P.J. Perry - a Canadian legend,' interview with Brian Turner,' Coda, 202, Jun-Jul 1985

    Rempel, Byron. 'The ghosts and spirits of P.J. Perry,' Alberta Report, 19 Jun 1989

    Jazz in Canada