Don Perry – Bio
Virtually unknown, Don Perry’s debut as a solo artist
took place at a small winery in May 2002, playing strictly
2 ½ years earlier, Perry decided that the time had
come, after more than a decade away from music, to become
reacquainted with the saxophone. He made a purchase that,
at the time was very difficult to justify, a Selmer, Paris
model tenor sax, the horn he had wanted for nearly 20 years.
He began the long process of rebuilding his chops by playing
some of the music he remembered from his earlier endeavors.
Almost immediately, he discovered that he needed to do much
more than revisit the past, so he began to explore his own
ideas with the new saxophone. For over 2 years he worked for
3 to 4 hours, nearly every night, and often 8 hours or more
on Sundays, creating rhythm and melody lines that felt interesting
enough to build into songs.
It was at this very first gig, that Don was introduced to
John Luttrelle, an audio engineer/ musician, who worked closely
with Perry over the next 7 years, co-producing each of the
3 CD releases that he currently has to his credit; “Standing
in the Shadows” in 2005, “Slide Over” in
2006 and “Just Like That” in 2009. Perry recognizes
Luttrelle’s support as the guiding force behind the
transformation of his original ideas into complete songs.
He readily credits John’s influence as a major factor
in his career. “John continually pushed me, to push
myself. If not for his friendship and guidance, I seriously
doubt that I would even be playing, let alone recording”.
Since that first show, where he was equipped with his Selmer
and a stool, Perry has continually honed his craft and carved
a niche into the local music scene, which did not previously
exist. For over a decade, he has continued with this project,
playing melodies on the tenor, alto and soprano saxophone.
Since 2003 he has performed vocal numbers as well, singing
only the lyrics that he has penned. All of this, while being
backed by the pre-recorded tracks that he has created. He
states emphatically, “All of the backing tracks are
completely original, there are no downloads, samples, or anything
of that nature. I’ve either created each part myself,
or have brought in musicians whom I trust, such as Luttrelle,
drummer Pete LeMay and guitarist Matt Schenk, to take my ideas
to the next level.”
Don Perry is one of a very few artists who have been able
to find success, at the regional level, playing exclusively
original compositions, a fact that has gained the respect
of his listeners, as well as fellow musicians.
Don’s dedication to his art can be witnessed both in
his live performances and his recordings, be it a soft silky
ballad such as “Teardrops” or a gutsy, groove
driven piece like “Slide Over”. He states, “Each
song on each CD is borne from an emotion that I was experiencing
at that moment, and every time that I play one of my songs,
I hope to convey that emotion to the audience”. By performing
solo he can recreate the music from each of his CDs almost
seamlessly, but admits that he had known for quite some time,
that he both wanted and needed to perform his music with a
In early 2010, Perry took the first step in this direction,
when he created the “Don Perry Duo”, an idea that
was originally intended to fill one time slot, at one event.
“This was the first time that I had played “covers”
in nearly 20 years,” says Don
By playing as a member of a team, Perry had to become reacquainted,
not only to working, rehearsing and performing with others,
but also with the process of recreating music. He says, “Instead
of trying to capture my own emotions in music, I have to adjust
my style and my technique, (or lack thereof), to try and recreate
what someone else has done. This is a totally different process”.
Don now realizes that this forced adaptation was simply the
first step in the creation of an ensemble, with which to perform
his own compositions.
In late 2011, Don followed this path one step further, with
the formation of “Face Value”, a four-piece group
which built upon the duo idea. The line-up consists of Greg
Pudder on electric bass, Rich Branham on electric guitar and
Pete LeMay on drums. The group has since become a prominent
figure on the local music scene, because of the strong musicianship
and inviting, energetic set list, filled primarily with fun,
rock favorites from the 70’s through the 90’s.
Face Value can be found performing regularly at area wineries,
restaurants and festivals in Northeast Ohio, or visit them
at www.facevaluemusic.com . You may also “like”
Face Value, at Facebook.com/facevaluemusic, to keep up with
the latest events.
The duo format continues to be very well received and has
proven to be quite unique and versatile. “The Duo”
performs a wide variety of acoustic/sax-infused, rock cover
material, featuring Perry along with Face Value guitarist
Rich Branham, on acoustic guitar and harmony and lead vocals.
Now billed as the “Face Value Duo”, this 5+ year
creates a more layed-back, intimate atmosphere which works
very well in the smaller, boutique wineries.
What’s up Doc?????
“Doc Genre”, the four-piece group Perry formed
in early 2014 with guitarist Matt Schenk, was somewhat of
a “flash in the pan”. The project got off to a
very strong start, exploring funk and R&B rhythms, but
ended rather abruptly with the departure of the bassist.
Don’s intentions were to form a group that could provide
the opportunity to create groove-oriented original music,
a goal he continues to pursue.
Though “The Doc” has been “off duty”,
so to speak, for a couple of years now, the ole boy has recently
undergone a spark of reanimation, as Perry and Schenk have
begun to collaborate in the studio once again.
Please visit www.DonPerrySaxMan.com for song samples, CD
sales and complete schedule information.
As always, “Thanks for listening!”