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After a 40-year Career in Law Enforcement, Gary Palmer Is Finally Doing what he loves, Playing Sax!

Updated: May 11

Thank you for your time, Gary Palmer. Can you tell me a bit about yourself? I had a 40-year career in law enforcement. Starting at an entry-level position and rising to command positions during my career.

What’s your story? Music was a part of me as a child. My father was a musician. At times as a child, I used to attend his rehearsals. My father used to play Blues on Friday, Jazz on Saturday, and Classical on Sunday.

What made you decide to pursue music? I played music as a youngster. My first performance was at the age of 12.

What type of sax do you play? Alto sax is my primary. I played Baritone sax in a college jazz band. Later on, I picked up the tenor and soprano saxes.

In your opinion, what is the most enjoyable aspect of being a saxophonist? I love the sound of a saxophone. It’s amazing. So many people tell me the saxophone is their favorite instrument.

As a musician, what are some of the challenges you face? Creating a niche and sound of your own that people will enjoy.

What are your favorite music genres? Jazz, Blues, R&B

Among all the saxophonists, who has most influenced you? Lou Donaldson, Grover Washington Jr, Gerald Albright, and Walter Beasley.

Over the years, who have you worked with? I’ve recorded with Paul Brown, Bob Baldwin, Kay-ta Matsuno, NILS, David P Stevens, and Tim Watson. I’ve performed with Gerald Veasley, Ken Ford, Jazmin Ghent, Christian DeMesones, Rob Zinn, and Jeanette Harris.

Mentally preparing for a show and public opinion, positive or negative, how do you approach it? I do the best I can when I perform. I want people to see that I’m into the music to feel what I feel. You take the positive and learn from the negative.

How would you advise new musicians entering this industry? Understand not every performance will be perfect. Despite rejection from venue owners and radio stations, you persevere. Others will admire you, giving you the drive to keep going.

Other than the saxophone, what other instruments do you play?

I’m learning the bass and piano.

Do you currently have any singles or albums out? Would you mind telling me about your latest album/song and what inspired it? Is it already available, and where can people purchase it? I have a Christmas single that will be released on November 17, 2022, entitled “Glad To Be With Ya.” Kevin Foster and I wrote this track. The past few years have been devastating as the pandemic has taken a toll on families and friends. This year we have the opportunity to be with family and friends again. The single will be on all digital platforms My new single will be out in January 2023.

Do you have any upcoming shows? November 19, 2022, The Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center's “A Jazzy Thanksgiving” on the bill with Art Sherrod Jr. as the headliner.

Are there any tips you can give to aspiring musicians? Learn your craft, and don’t stop because one person said no. Keep pushing forward.

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