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NY jazz with a Lancaster connection

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Paul Sanwald visited often during childhood

By Nita Brown

Whatever you call it – straight ahead, cool, smooth or hot – jazz is coming to Lancaster.
The Paul Sanwald Jazz Quartet, based out of New York, will be performing at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at the Lancaster Cultural Arts Center. This time, the music will be “straight ahead,” a sound born of the classic jazz quartet – tenor saxophone, piano, bass and drums. Lancaster will get to hear a mix of original jazz compositions, some brand new, all written by quartet leader Paul Sanwald, with additional selections by familiar names like Cole Porter.
Sanwald is a bassist, composer and arranger living in Brooklyn, N.Y. Born in Binghamton, N.Y., and growing up in Raleigh, N.C., he has lived all over the United States, most recently returning east from San Francisco.
But some of his roots are right here in Lancaster. Concert organizer John Craig explains:
“Judy Craig Sanwald (Paul’s mother) is one of my three sisters. Paul was frequently in Lancaster while growing up, visiting his grandparents on Craig Farm. He and his wife, Sarah, were married at Craig House about 10 years ago.”
Sanwald said his first string quartet was written for his wedding here.
Sanwald said he’s always enjoyed his times in Lancaster and is enthusiastic about the performance.
“I couldn’t be more excited to bring the quartet,” he said. “Having lived most of my adult life in NYC, I’m thrilled to be playing our music in such a beautiful place and setting. I think the concert is going to be something really special.”
Sanwald’s initial interest in music focused on jazz, and he started out studying jazz guitar. Jazz guitar remained his passion, and he “went professional” at age 18. Most of his 20-plus year career was on guitar, but for the last five years, his primary instrument has been the upright bass.
His first album, “The Paul Sanwald Quartet,” was released in December 2017. Copies of the album will be available, as “vintage vinyl” LPs, at the performance.
Coming to Lancaster with Sanwald are Wataru Uchida on saxophone, Ben Rosenblum on piano and Ethan Kogin, drums. All are accomplished musicians in their own right and have produced their own albums.
Craig said he is looking forward to the concert.
“Paul is a very serious musician… having studied at the Juilliard School in New York City and performed everywhere from cafes to even, in Europe, sidewalks! I think Lancastrians will enjoy hearing the unique jazz that his quartet produces.”
As with other events in the Vivian Major Robinson concert series, proceeds from this performance will be used to help fund additions to the Lancaster Cultural Arts Center. Sponsors are the Lancaster County Society for Historical Preservation, the Craig Farm Historical Preservation Foundation and the Lancaster County Council of the Arts.

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Want to go?
What: Paul Sanwald Jazz Quartet
When: Saturday, April 6
Time: 7 p.m.
Where: Lancaster Cultural Arts Center, 307 W. Gay St., Lancaster
Admission: Will-call tickets $10 per person in advance; $15 at door
Ticket purchases: www.lccarts.net/tickets or (803) 285-7451