Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Perry, Geoffrey Fitzhugh
Perry, Geoffrey Fitzhugh, jazz violinist, multi-instrumentalist; b. Buffalo, NY, 29 March 1961. His father, James Stanley Perry, was the son of a preacher, was in Navy special forces in Korean War, and played Bass Drum in marching band. His mother Dianne Louise Perry (maiden name: Kling), was a piano instructor and church organist/choir director. His sister Kathleen Anne Perry, plays viola, flute, piano, got her Bachelors from Eastman School of Music, Masters in Ed. Miami Univ., did much orchestra work (major Symphony sub, Soleto Festival in Germany) and performed and recorded with (Buffalo-based) "Them Jazz Beards." She's currently String teacher at Rochester School for the Arts.
Geoffrey studied piano with his mother, Dianne Perry (66-73). He studied violin with Denis Piwowarski (72-78), Charles Haupt (78-79), and the Rowe String Quartet (University of Buffalo, full scholarship 1979-82). He studied jazz guitar with Lewis Palowski (75-78). He's a self-taught electric bassist (1977+).
Perry lived and raised in Lancaster, NY 1962-1987. He graduated from Lancaster High School (where he played in the Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, and Marching Band, and Chorus). He's played piano from age 5 (taught by his mother) and violin from age 8. He was a member of the Buffalo Youth Orchestra 1977-1979 (sitting assistant-concertmaster in his senior year). He attended New York State Summer School for the Arts School for Orchestra Studies 1978 (chosen through state-wide auditions). He started guitar at age 12. He attended University of Buffalo on a full scholarship as a violin performance major 1979. He recorded and performed as member of jazz fusion group Loosely Tight 1979-1982. He's played on dozens local and national jingles.
He was chosen through national auditions to play bass in an Opryland-produced show (Sing Tennessee!) for the 1982 Worlds Fair in Knoxville, TN during which he backed up country music legend Roy Acuff, and jammed with Dr. Woody Paul (member of famed cowboy trio Riders in the Sky). He substituted (violin) with the Knoxville Symphony 1982 and Corning Symphony 1985. He was band leader aboard Carnival Cruiseis MS Tropical in 1983. Played and recorded as a member of the Vincent Michaels Band (Endorsing Artists for Moog Synthesizers and sponsored by Coca Cola and Black Horse Ale) 1983-1988. He became a Pearse Amplifier Endorsee (and demonstrator at NAMM shows) 1989.
He's best known thus far for his 8 year stint (1988-1996) with the jazz-rock fusion group Gamalon, signing recording contracts with Amherst and MCA records, going to #8 on Billboard's Jazz Chart, touring with sax-great Ernie Watts, and performing at the Newport Jazz Fest. He has fronted his own group "Fitzhugh and the Fanatics" since 1994, touring around the North-East, performing at NXNE in Toronto, Undercurrents Festival in Cleveland, and the Philadelphia Music Conference, Buffalo Music Collective's Bomblast (also having songs included on their annual compilation CD's two years in a row), nominated for Buffalo Music Awards Best Original Pop/Rock group in 1998, and also won the Top Original Instrumentalist Award the same year.
He has won Artvoice Magazine's Best Miscellaneous Instrument Award twice. He was nominated for best Bassist in Nitelife and Buffalo Backstage Music Awards (6 times). He was seen on ESPN after appearing as Buffalo Sabres "Fiddle Man" in 1997. He toured and recorded with Nashville New-Age Guitarist Paul Carrol Binkley 1987-1999. He taught a "Fiddle Jam" class for Eden, NY school system 1998. He ran the Orchestra programs at 3 Frontier Elementary Schools 1999.
Played and recorded with many others including: Ani DiFranco, Michael Civisca, Allison Pipitone, Emery Nash, The Vincent Michaels Band, Shakin Smith, Two Hills, Electroman, the Jamie Moses Band, the Money Band, Mark Mazur and Corona, Lance Diamond, Joyryde, New Jazz Orchestra of Buffalo (John Bacon Jr.), Tom Stahl, Big Happy Family, the Sid Winkler Trio, the Stickmen, filled in, jammed, subbed, and recorded with countless others in and around Buffalo area over the last 20 plus years. In the winter of 2001-2002, he performed (as bassist) with drummer Gary Mallabar (Steve Miller, Van Morrison, Bruce Springstein, Eddie Money) and guitarist Jack Sherman (Bob Dylan, Red Hot Chili Peppers) in a group called "In From The Cold."
He's an endorsing artist for DiAddario String Company. Currently, he's a teacher (with a full roster of about 45 private students per week, and director of string music at the Aurora Waldorf School in West Falls, NY and The Nichols Middle School). He's also a songwriter. He performs children's shows with "Miss Roz" Magorian, John Brady, and "Dr. Jazz" (Brian Bower). He's a member of LeeRon Zydeco and the Hot Tamales, a member of folk-fusion group Emery Nash and is working on a new project with jazz drummer, John Anderson called "ZhuJazz" demonstrating stringed instruments in schools with Doug Yeomans (2001 winner of the North American Rock Guitar Competition) as "The Stingmen." He's also developing his Fiddle Jam Clinics in conjunction with his book/CD.
He resides in Boston, NY with wife Elizabeth, cat (Go-tee), and dog (Elvis). He has 3 step-children and 4 step-grandchildren.
Fitzhugh and the Fanatics: Blue Standards (1994), Flavor (1997), Fitzhugh (unrleased, 1999); ZhuJazz (unreleased, 2000)
Loosely Tight: Prelude to the Dawn of a New Day (single) (1980), Loosely Tight (1980); Condor: album (unreleased); The Vincent Michaels Band: Let's Go Buffalo (single), full length album (unreleased); Paul Carroll Binkley: Closer to Home (1989); Ani DiFranco: Imperfectly (1990); Mark Freelandis Electroman: Many recordings (1990-1993); Gamalon: Ariel View (1990), High Contrast (1991); Paul Caroll Binkley: Passages (1992); LeeRon Zydeco and the Hot Tamales: Big Box Bop (1996); Allison Pipitone: Life in the First Person (1996); Tom Stahl: Hang On (1997); LeeRon Zydeco and the Hot Tamales: Shango Shake (1998), Raw Roots Live! (1999); Emery Nash: Turn Me Loose (1999), Revelations on the Road to Paradise (1999); Doug Rott: Last Exit Blues (2001); Emery Nash: Blue Cactus Coffee House Bootleg Music Series Volume I, Emery Nash Live (2002); Various Artists: The New Jazz Orchestra of Buffalo (1991), That Christmas CD (1996), That Other Christmas CD (1997), Buffalo Music Collective, Music From Here Vol.1 (1997), Buffalo Music Collective, Music From Here Vol.2 (1998), War Is Over, Campaign for Non-Violence (1999), Hot Guitars from Buffalo, NY Vol. 1 (2001)
Radio and television broadcasts:
Loosely Tight: WBFO live broadcasts (1979-1982); Fitzhugh and the Fanatics: various morning show appearances (WKBW-TV);
LeeRon Zydeco and the Hot Tamales various morning show appearances (WKBW-TV);
Soundtrack music: Gamalon: theme music for: World Wrestling Federation, 1992 Winter Olympics, Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bills on TV ads, during shows, and live in arena events.
Films and documentaries:
Mark Freelandis Electroman: "Electrospective" video documentary (1992) (electric violin & fretless piccolo Bass);
Video: "Because Itis Christmastime Again" Fitzhugh and the Fanatics/ Deck the Halls (1999)
Buffalo Nightlife Music Magazine, Best Bassist Nominee (6 times, 1984-89),
Artvoice Best Miscellaneous Instrument Award (2 times1992 &1994),
Buffalo Music Hall of Fame (Gamalon, 2002),
Buffalo Music Awards Top Original Instrumentalist (1998)
Author of "Fiddle Jam, a Way-Cool Easy Way to Learn How to Improvise" book and CD (Hal Leonard Publishing Corp.)
Magazine and newspaper articles: Erie (PA) Centinal news article about Fitzhugh and the Fanatics appearance and Geoff's evolution
Buffalo News various articles (Vincent Michael Band, Gamalon, Fiddle Jam)