Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Demsey, David B.
Demsey, David B., saxophonist, author, educator; b. 7 April 1955. He was married in 1980 and has one daughter, born 1988.
At Winchester High School in Winchester, Massachusetts, he was a member of the National Honor Society (1973). At Berklee College of Music, Boston, he privately studied saxophone and with Joseph Viola, studied theory (1972-75). He graduated with a B.S. in Music Education with high distinction from the University of Maine at Orono (1977). At Juilliard School, he was a Master of Music, Performance and a scholarship student, studing with Joseph Allard (1980). He had private Private improvisation study with saxophonist Michael Brecker in New York City (1989-1991). At the Eastman School of Music, he became a Docoor of Musical Arts, Performance and Literature (1989). He also minored in Music Theory at Eastman and studied with Ramon Ricker and Albert Regni.
Demsey is Professor of Music and Coordinator of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University of New Jersey, having been a member of the music faculty, then Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Maine at Augusta for twelve years. A Boston area native with a bachelors degree in music education from the University of Maine, he earned a doctorate at the Eastman School of Music and received a Master of Music in Saxophone from the Juilliard School, becoming the only saxophonist to hold graduate degrees from these two schools.
Demsey is equally comfortable as a classical and a jazz performer. He has performed frequently with the New York Philharmonic since 1995, including their 2000 Millennium European Tour and 1997 Latin American Tour, under the direction of Andr Previn, Zubin Mehta, Leonard Slatkin, Bobby McFerrin, Yuri Temirkanov and Kurt Masur, and with the Metropolitan Opera led by James Levine. A member of the American Saxophone Quartet since 1993 and on their new recording Spanning the River, he has premiered numerous solo and chamber works for saxophone as well as newly discovered songs by George Gershwin and Alec Wilder.
His Golden Crest solo album Demsey Plays Wilder is a collection of Wilders jazz and chamber music, and his Centaur compact disc, The Saxophone Music of Dexter Morrill Featuring David Demsey contains his performances of music for improviser and interactive digital music systems. He performed six original jazz compositions on his instructional CD Demsey & Friends: NeoBop, released with Jazz Player Magazine. He has appeared with such diverse jazz artists as trumpeter Clark Terry, pianists James Williams and Jim McNeely, bassists Milt Hinton, Rufus Reid and Todd Coolman, drummers Alan Dawson, John Riley, Horacee Arnold and Steve Smith, and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. In 1989, Demsey spent two weeks in Leningrad, USSR, where he presented lectures at Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, gave ten jazz concerts and performed with Russian musicians. He toured with the Kirov Orchestra in 2003. He was also a performer at Alec Wilder Concert Celebrations, St. Peters Church, New York City (1990, 1995-96, 1998-2001). He also performed with Wynton Marsalis at Lincoln Center, New York City (1979-80).
Demsey is an active educator and author. He is a Selmer Saxophone Clinician, and has been a guest performer, lecturer or conductor at over 90 universities, public schools, festivals and music institutes. His Improvisation and Concepts of Virtuosity is the final essay in the new Oxford Companion to Jazz. He is a Contributing Editor for Jazz Player Magazine and Saxophone Journal. His articles have appeared in such publications as Down Beat, American Music, Instrumentalist, Annual Review of Jazz Studies and his five-article series was published in the Jazz Educators Journal. He wrote liner notes for Verve Records Listen to Art Farmer and the Jazz Orchestra and for the Ben Webster, Lester Young and Kenny Burrell Verve Jazz Masters Series compact discs.
New Jersey Jazz Educator of the Year Award (2001)
Books & Editorships:
John Coltrane Plays Giant Steps [Hal Leonard Artist Transcription Series] ISSN 0-7935-6345-3 (1997). [Cited in Lewis Porter, John Coltrane: His Life & Music (U. Michigan Press): 126, 146, 149-50, 223-5, and in Carl Woideck, The John Coltrane Companion (Schirmer): 179-180.]
David Demsey and Ronald Prather, Alec Wilder: A Bio-Bibliography (Greenwood Press, 1993) Bio-Bibliographies in Music, No. 45; ISBN 0-313-27820-2; ISSN 0742-6968. [Cited in Desmond Stone, Alec Wilder in Spite of Himself (Oxford, 1996): 62, 88, 133, 210, 225, 227.]
Editor, Newsletter of the Friends of Alec Wilder: Includes all editorial and layout responsibilities. Vol. 2 (February 1991) - Vol. 7 (February 1996).
Contributing Editor, Saxophone Journal; New Saxophone Publications column in each issue: From Volume 13, No. 2 (September 1988) to present (complete articles list available on request).
Contributing Editor, Jazz Player Magazine; Jazz Harmony Techniques column in each issue: From Vol. 1, No. 1 (December 1993) to Vol. 8, No. 6 (December 2001) (complete list available on request).
Chapter Essay: Jazz Improvisation and Concepts of Virtuosity, Oxford Companion to Jazz, Bill Kirchner, ed. (New York: Oxford, 2000): 788-798.
The Saxophone at Juilliard, Saxophone Journal 24, No. 6 (July 2000): 59-61.
Chromatic Third Relations in the Music of John Coltrane, Annual Review of Jazz Studies 5 (1991): 145-80 [cited in Andrew Jaffe, Jazz Theory (Advance): 163-9; in Down Beat 59, No. 7 (July 1992): 26-9].
Verve Records Liner notes: Listen to Art Farmer and the Orchestra; Verve Jazz Masters Series: #45, Kenny Burrell Verve 314 527 652-2; #43, Ben Webster, Verve 314 525 431-2; #30, Lester Young, Verve 521 859-2.
Co-author with Fred Hemke, The Basics of Teaching New Saxophone Students, Instrumentalist 51, No. 9 (April 1997): 24-28. [Reprinted in First Lesson on Each Instrument (Instrumentalist Publishing): 18-22]
Liner Notes for Kentucky Saxophone Quartet CD Kentucky Roastup [Sea Breeze SB3030] (1998).
Review of The Woodshedding Sourcebook, Brass Player (Winter 1997): 20.
Pro Session: Earthly Origins of Coltranes Third Cycles, Down Beat 62, No. 7 (July 1995): 63.
Book Review: Three Books on Lester Young, American Music 11, No. 3 (Fall 93): 374-7.
The Saxophone Music of Alec Wilder, Instrumentalist 47, No. 9 (April 1993): 38-49.
More Clues To A Life: The Alec Wilder Archive at the Eastman School of Music, MLA Notes Vol. 46, No. 4 (June 1990): 919-27 [reprinted in Alec Wilder: An Introduction to the Man and His Music (Margun Music, 1991): 93].
A Comprehensive Study of Five Tenor Saxophone Solos, Jazz Educators Journal. Part I: The Successful Sax [Lester Young], 21, No. 4 (Spring 1989): 37-9; Part II: Don Byas, 22, No. 1 (Fall 1989): 39-41; Part III: Dexter Gordon, 22, No. 3 (Winter 1990): 37-41; Part IV : John Coltrane, 23, No. 1 (Fall 1990): 50-2; Part V: Michael Brecker, 23, No. 4 (Summer 1991): 36-8.
Michael Brecker [Interview], Saxophone Journal 11, No. 4 (Winter 1987): 22-8 [cited in New Groves Dictionary of Jazz, Barry Kernfield, ed. (New York: MacMillan, 1988): I 148.]
Laura Hunter [Interview], Saxophone Journal 10, No. 2 (Summer 1985): 46-50.
Jazz Clinic: Ten Great Saxophone Albums, Instrumentalist 38, No. 10 (May 1984): 51-6.
An Analysis: Paul Crestons Suite, Op. 111, Saxophone Journal 9, No. 3: 20-3.
New Saxophone Publications, Saxophone Symposium 9, No 4 (Fall 1984): 29.
Tips for the Beginning Improvisor, Maine Music Educator, Winter 1984.
Music Review: Paul Chiharas Saxophone Concerto, Saxophone Journal 27 (Fall 1981): 22-3.
Piano Arrangement of Alec Wilder Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Concert Band [Margun Music].
Six original jazz compositions for Jazz Player Magazine play-along CD, NeoBop: David Demsey & Friends.
Piano Reduction of Alec Wilder/Loonis McGlohon Air for Alto Saxophone [Dorn Publications].
Compositions: New Jersey All-State 1999 and 2001 Jazz Audition Etudes.
250 Rhythm Studies, [University of Maine Printing Office].
Works, Projects in Progress:
Solo CD: Take Time: Ballads with James Williams, Rufus Reid.
Book (co-editor with Thomas Hampson): Alec Wilder Letters I Never Mailed, 2nd Ed., University of Rochester Press.
Book: Artist Transcription Series: The Solos of Benny Golson (Hal Leonard).
Article: Foreword for Masaya Yamaguchi, Coltrane Plays Coltrane Changes (Hal Leonard).
Recording: Alfred Reed, Childrens Suite, solo alto saxophone and wind ensemble, with Eastern Wind Symphony.
Consultant/Contributor, Joseph Allard, Michael Brecker, Al Gallodoro, Bakers Biographical Dictionary.
Article: Voice-Leading in Coltranes Giant Steps Solos, Selmer Woodwind Notes.
Music: Piano Reduction of Alec Wilders Suite No. 2 for Tenor Saxophone and Strings.
Demsey Plays Wilder; Manhattan Chamber Orchestra: Alec Wilder Air for Saxophone; American Saxophone Quartet: Clarinet Commission Project, Spanning The River; New York Philharmonic/Masur/Fazil Say, Rhapsody in Blue/I Got Rhythm Variations; Dexter Morrill: Works for Saxophone; Tom Hoffman Trio: Live at Keystone Korner;
NeoBop: David Demsey & Friends, play-along CD and accompanying sheet music; released with Jazz Player Magazine 1, No. 3 (April 94);
Metropolitan Opera/James Levine, national radio broadcast, Alban Berg Lulu (2001, 2002); New York Philharmonic/Kurt Masur, national radio broadcast, Gershwin Porgy and Bess Suite (1998);
Presented Recital on National Public Radios Morning Pro Musica, WGBH, Boston (1986).
Featured soloist, Maine Public Radio theme music; on Epic Records single, Imaginary Conversations (1982-5).
Featured soloist, Greater Bostonians. Two live albums, Symphony Hall, Boston; WHDH, WNAC-TV.
David B. Demsey
151 Farmingdale Road
Wayne, New Jersey 07470-6550