George Haslam

British saxophonist George Haslam can be difficult to pin down even by avant-garde standards of jazz. He prefers to play on the baritone and tarogato – both Hungarian double-reed instruments. This is not one of the most well-known jazz horns. His eclectic musical tastes have led him to play everything from abstract free improv to Latin bop and jazz standards. Although his formative years are not documented, his discography has grown steadily since 1989 when he started his own label Slam. Paul Rutherford, trombonist, and Paul Hession are his favorite musical partners. George Haslam was born in Preston, Lancashire on February 22, 1939. He is a self-taught saxophonist. At an early age, he began playing in jazz and dance bands. He learned on the job. He was influenced by Gerry Mulligan and Lester Young. Jimmy Guiffre was also an important influence. He began to incorporate free jazz and improvisation at the end of 1960s. This allowed him to explore extended techniques that were similar to Evan Parker’s, without abandoning mainstream jazz. He joined the London Free Improv group, where he performed but not recorded. He formed his first group, The Siger Band in the 1980s with Rutherford and Tony Moore. He was later replaced by Hession. Haslam traveled extensively throughout Eastern Europe during this time, both with and without his band. His first album, Live in Hungary, by the Siger Band was released on Spotlite, in 1984. Haslam was the first British musician to perform in Cuba in 1986. He became the first British jazzman ever to perform in Argentina four years later. It was the beginning of a love affair with South America, especially Argentina. He continues to return each year. He has shared the stage with legendary artists like Charlie Mariano and Arturo Sandoval. He founded the record label Slam in 1989, which is still his main musical outlet. The label was created to release his own music, but has also recorded the work of Steve Lacy, Mal Waldron, as well as introduced a few Argentinian musicians into European ears. Slam’s first album was a collection of duets featuring Rutherford, entitled 1989 and All That. There were many collaborations and solo albums with Rutherford and others, including those with Lol Coxhill and LaszloGardony, Ruben Ferero, Evan Parker, and Ruben Ferrero. Haslam founded the British Saxophone Quartet in 1992 with Paul Dunmall and Elton Dean. Meltdown was formed five years later by Haslam. It is a creative workshop orchestra that recorded its first album in 2001. This year, his Anglo-Argentine Jazz Quartet toured England, Argentina and produced the album Live at The Red Rose. Allmusic

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