Peter Paulsen, bassist/composer/educator, has put together a new quintet specifically for a series of new compositions he has been working on since recently receiving a PEW Fellowship in Music Composition. While this band, at first glance, might be considered a jazz quintet, there are many other influences at play here in the compositions and interpretation that mix elements of classical composition with interactive improvisation; folk song with art song; as well as an ensemble dynamic that continues to develop and evolve with each performance.
Peter Paulsen is currently Instructor of Double Bass/Jazz Studies at West Chester University and is an active member of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, principal bass of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra and has been principal bass with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Spoleto, Italy. He is also busy as a free-lance jazz bassist in the tri-state area and performs regularly with his own quintet and trio as well as many of Philadelphia’s top jazz performers. Mr. Paulsen is very committed to the education of young, up-coming musicians and has participated in master classes with Francois Rabbath, Hal Robinson, Mark Morton, Donald Palma and as a clinician with Jimmy Knepper, George Young, Clark Terry, Dennis DiBlasio, Valery Ponamerov, Ed Soph and Gunnar Mossblad.
He is a member of the International Society of Bassists and an active composer of works for his instrument, receiving two prestigious Pennsylvania Council on the Arts composition grants and a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada. He has released his first CD as a leader on R&L Records, “Three-Stranded Cord”, for jazz quintet, receiving national airplay and high reports on Jazzweek and CJM(college radio) charts. As a member of the MPH Trio, with Gunnar Mossblad on saxophones and Chris Hanning on percussion, he has released “Curves” on GPCrecordings which is also getting national airplay and reviews. Peter can be heard on the 2005 Wahbo Records release, “Useful Music” by the Jeff Baumeister Quartet and Mr. Paulsen’s CD release on Wahbo Records, “Tri-cycle”, for jazz trio featuring compositions that won him a third PCA composition grant. His recent activity as a composer was recognized by the PEW Charitable Trust as a recipient of the PEW Fellowship in Music Composition for 2007 and has led to the most recent CD release, Peter Paulsen “Change of Scenery” Sextet, also on Wahbo Records.
“My background as a visual arts student has given me a significant sense of the value of observation, and the challenge of developing that which is observed into a vital and expressive statement. In jazz, this manifests itself through improvising with the spontaneity and interaction of a conversation; while in composing; it has more to do with framing an idea (seed) into a rhythmic, lyric and harmonic ‘personality’. The expression of this process can best be illustrated by the parable of the mustard seed; ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed…, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree…’” Matt. 13: 31-32