Paul Gillespie is a tenor saxophonist, composer, and music educator who performs improvised music throughout the Seattle area as a member of the Jazz Police, PGM Trio, Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra, and Kevin McCarthy Quartet, and has recorded on recent CD releases PGM Trio (2013), Gimme Some Sugar, Baby! (2014), and Celebration (2015). Paul regularly appears with others as a freelance musician and was honored to join Daniel Barry’s Celestial Rhythm Orchestra in a 2014 Earshot Jazz Festival performance at the Seattle Art Museum.
Paul studies composition with his mentor William O. Smith and completed a large-scale symphonic piece Variations for Orchestra in 2014. In addition to the musical influences of Bill, Paul’s harmonic language attempts to imitate the sounds of György Ligeti, Elliott Carter, Igor Stravinksy, and Béla Bartók. Motivic development and percussive, dynamic melodic and rhythmic characteristics are often inspired by the music of Sonny Rollins, Eric Dolphy, and Wayne Shorter. Paul’s collection of works include String Quartet No. 1 (2008), Wind Quintet (2011), Woodwind Trio (2012), Octet for Winds, Strings, and Percussion (2013), and String Quartet No. 2 (2015).
Paul Gillespie is a National Board Certified Teacher and teaches instrumental music and International Baccalaureate Music in the Bellevue School District in Bellevue, WA.
Paul received a B.A. in Saxophone Performance, Jazz Studies from Indiana University, Bloomington (1999) and a B.M. in Music Education from the University of Washington (2008).
“Paul Gillespie is one of the finest young composers that I’ve known.”
William O. Smith, composer, clarinet
“Paul has performed my compositions with the Jazz Police, the Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra and my Celestial Rhythm Orchestra. His thoughtful improvisations are imbued with a thorough understanding of context. He is not afraid of silence and always contributes to the big picture.”
Daniel Barry, composer, trumpet, bandleader
“Paul is one of the most outstanding musicians I know, and his talent and professional approach to music are among the factors that have me look forward to having him play in my band from week to week. I’ve known Paul for many years, and am truly inspired by the difference he’s out to make in the world through his music and mentoring.”
Jim Cutler, composer, saxophone, bandleader
“Paul Gillespie is a wonderful player and composer who is very forward thinking, yet has his feet planted firmly in the tradition. His sound is full of energy and emotion, and in performance he always gives the audience all he has to offer. I have the utmost respect for Paul Gillespie as a player and person.”
Tim Kennedy, pianist, composer