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Houston Press Music Awards Preview - Paul English

By Mark Towns
Published: Houston Press, Thursday, July 10, 1997

Paul English has played and recorded with jazz veterans and newcomers alike, and he has never limited himself to any one color on the improvisational palette, flitting from fusion to straight-ahead jazz to the occasional free-form dabbling. And though he had always written, classical composition has only recently been added to his musical arsenal. In fact, English has become a prolific composer, writing music for radio, film, television and chamber and symphony orchestras. Earlier this year, he premiered "Wrestling with My God", a full oratorio for mixed choir, chamber orchestra and organ with texts by 19th-century English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, as well as "Her Name Shall Remain Unspoken," a piece for French horn and piano that got its first hearing at the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. The classical bug has spread to English's jazz performances as well. In 1994, he formed PICO (Paul's Improvising Chamber Orchestra), which features classical French horn, oboe, flute, cello and various percussion. When was the last time you heard a decent jazz solo on French horn or cello? If the answer is somewhere along the lines of "never," English has got a show for you.

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