MUSIC - Paul Carr - Saxophonist, Educator, Bandleader, Composer, Producer


"Paul Carr, a Houston native and 1985 Howard University graduate, has dedicated his professional career to mastering the saxophone and the art of Jazz. He carries on the Texas tenor tradition espoused by great heroes such as the late Houstonians Arnett Cobb and Don Wilkerson who served as his early idols and mentors. He grew up in inner-city Houston, Texas and was a member of the Kashmere High School Stage Band, whose director, the late Conrad Johnson, is the subject of a documentary, Thunder Soul, produced by actor, Jamie Foxx. Though never having had private music lessons, Paul has received several outstanding musician awards at high school and college jazz festivals.

Paul has recorded 8 CD’s, which have been well received by critics and jazz fans alike. His new CD “The Real Jazz Whisperer” features Allyn Johnson, Michael Bowie, Lewis Nash and will be released September, 2020. His CD “DC-NYC Organ Sessions” reached #9 on the Jazz Week radio play charts. His CD released in 2013, “Standard Domain,” reached #3 on the Jazz Week radio play chart and stayed on the chart for 16 weeks. Paul has toured Russia, Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Central and South America and has shared the stage with many of the greatest names in jazz. Paul was a favorite of President Clinton during his term in office and Paul performed at many of the Clinton’s private events. He also did a special performance for the late King Hussein and Queen Noir of Jordan at their residence in Aqaba, Jordan.

Paul is passionately committed to the education of children and particularly as it relates to the preservation of jazz. In 2002, he founded the Jazz Academy of Music, which hosts summer camps and jazz ensembles for kids throughout the year. Paul has changed the lives of hundreds of his students by selflessly sharing his knowledge of music and life. Several of his students have been admitted and even received full scholarships to some of the top music schools and conservatories in the country. In fact, five of Paul students have been admitted to the prestigious Julliard School of Music in New York. Many of his former students are touring and performing all over the world, sharing the stage with some of the top names in jazz music today.

When you think of an ambassador for jazz music today, you have got to include Paul Carr in that grouping, as his work touches all fronts including jazz education, performance and presentation."


The Real Jazz Whisperer - Paul Carr Quintet   (2020)

"A “Whisperer” is a person that uses whispers and gentle persuasion in training. As a “Whisperer” for Real Jazz I have worked for many years, performing, recording, teaching and for the past 11 years producing the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival. I started this journey teaching when my saxophone teacher at Texas Southern University, Laura Hunter, asked me to teach about 35 of her middle school private students. You know, right from the beginning, I dug it. I really dug it. Teaching has never been something I dreaded. I have always thought it was my way of fixing what I thought was wrong in music, and jazz in particular. Now some 35 years later, I am extremely proud and honored to have taught and still teach some immensely talented students. They are touring the world playing jazz and leading their own bands. Many of my former students are running their own music programs in secondary schools, colleges and Universities stateside and abroad." 

B3 Sessions - Paul Carr Quintet   (2014)

"The album was mixed by Jeff Gruber at Blue House Productions. On both sessions Carr combines his big Texas tenor tone with the classic organ trio format of B3, guitar and drums. Many of the tunes feature the sax and guitar in perfect unison on some pretty intricate lines. Carr’s own bluesy “B3” showcases the unison sax/guitar to great effect when alternating the angular melody with killer organ exchanges. There is the latin flavored Dorothy that after a percussive beginning breaks into a huge wall of sound with the organ, guitar and sax all hitting huge chords that will surely blow the listener away. The greasy, strutting groove of Sunshine Alley is a great example of where Jazz and funk meet into something that moves your feet while keeping your ears and brain engaged. Whether he’s in uptempo or ballad mode Carr’s solos showcase his sweet and sour, inside/outside improvisation that’s always fresh while still faithful to his hard bop and straight ahead roots. Extremely sophisticated but still accessible Paul’s solos should keep listeners on the edge of their seats." 

Paul Carr B3 Sessions at Blue House Productions (2014)
Paul Carr's sixth recording as a leader was recorded in two sessions, Washington & New York. It features Paul Carr, Saxophones; Bobby Broom, Guitar; Paul Bollenbeck, Guitar; Bobby Floyd, Organ; Pat Bianchi, Organ; Lewis Nash, Drums; Byron Landham, Drums.


Standard Domain - Paul Carr Quintet   (2012)

"On his latest release, Carr argues for the continued importance of a standard repertoire. It’s not a groundbreaking statement by anyone’s count, but maybe it seems at least a little bit meaningful today, when jazz means so many things to so many people. Characteristically, his statement is pro-tradition but anti-dogma; he’s not sticking to any routine playbook. On Standard Domain, Carr delves into a handful of lesser-heard but still immortal compositions:" 

Straight Ahead Soul -
Paul Carr Quintet   (2010)

"Straight Ahead Soul, the new CD by Paul Carr, is the most personal musical statement to date from the tenor saxophonist and educator, who's been a mainstay of the Washington, DC jazz scene for the last 25 years. It's a meditation on Carr's Southern roots and “the influence a Southern upbringing has had on my musical foundation," he says. And it explores his journey from inner-city Houston to the suburbs of Washington, DC, as he pays homage to mentors (and legendary Texas tenor men) Arnett Cobb and Don Wilkerson."   

"Known for his hard charging, soulful and versatile style, Paul Carr upholds the Texas tradition of tenor saxophonist. The Houston Texas native has studied and played with some of the best musicians in Texas, including Arnett Cobb, Don Wilkerson and is a student of the legendary teacher, Conrad Johnson."  

Paul Carr -
Musically Yours Remembering
Joe Henderson (2008)

<"Houston-born tenor man Paul Carr brought his big bold Texas tenor sound with him when he moved to Washington D.C., where he studied at Howard University and became active in the community's vibrant jazz scene as a performer and educator (he founded the Jazz Academy of Music). On this new outing, Carr visits the songbook of the late, great Joe Henderson, who unfairly has been somewhat overlooked among the famous tenors in jazz. Carr doesn’t attempt to sound like Henderson, but rather gives his own interpretations of some of Henderson’s tunes, as well as two originals and three covers."   

Saxophonist Paul Carr Releases 2nd Solo Album, Just Noodlin' on Jazz Karma Records  (2006)

"One of the finest horn players in the DC metropolitan area, saxophonist Paul Carr is proud to announce the release of his second album as a leader, Just Noodlin', on Jazz Karma Records. The outing features a who's who of DC-based musicians as well as featured guest soloist Terell Stafford, a longtime friend. “Terell used to appear with me when I had a weekly gig at Takoma Station in Takoma Park, Maryland," says Carr. Since those days, Stafford has gone on to become Director of Jazz Studies at Temple University and has recorded as a leader most notably for MaxJazz. He has appeared on over 100 recordings as a sideman. Here Stafford's refined tone and technique are showcased alongside Carr's burly Mobley-inspired tenor. "   


Anatomy of a recording session… “Standard Domain”

Last December, as saxophonist-educator Paul Carr and his wife Karmen Carr were busily locking down the forthcoming 3rd annual edition of their late winter Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, Paul invited this writer to a recording session for his summer 2012 release Standard Domain. Having worked with Paul and Karmen to develop the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, which arose from the ashes of the late East Coast Jazz Festival, I was also eager to catch at least part of the recording session because this would be the same band Paul would lead at MAJF in February, featuring Lewis Nash on drums, Michael Bowie on bass, Terell Stafford on trumpet & flugelhorn, and pianist Joey Calderazzo… and also because friend and colleague Bret Primack – the erstwhile Jazz Video Guy – was in town to shoot the proceedings for his essential YouTube channel. Check Bret’s recording session.