Alto Saxophonist, Composer, Conductor, Arranger, Bandleader, Producer, Educator
Born in Colon, Panama Jorge attended the Panama Conservatory of Music and the University of Panama. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music from the State University of New York College at New Paltz in 1981. A unique innovator and impressive composer and arranger in the idiom of creative music, his sound is reminiscent of Eric Dolphy and Ornette Coleman. Jorge has remained on the cutting edge of the creative NY Jazz scene since his arrival from Spain in 1980. Sylvester’s blend of African-Caribbean rhythms with new music is what gives him his distinguished voice.
Beginning his professional career at age 14, Jorge was leading his own Caribbean dance band, writing his own arrangements and compositions. He studied privately with renowned Panamanian jazz saxophonist, Euclides Hall. Upon the recommendation of his professor, Efrain Castro, Jorge became a regular musician in the great Panamanian pianist Victor Boa’s band.
Heading for Europe in his early twenties, Sylvester spent ten years touring and recording with his ensembles and freelancing throughout Europe.
ADDITIONAL STUDIES: Mr. Sylvester studied advanced harmony with Argentinian pianist, composer Luis Vecchio in Las Palmas de Gran Canarias, Spain whose Quartet he also then recorded with. Upon his arrival to New York in 1980, he studied with Dave Holland, Oliver Lake, Steve Lacy, Ramsey Ameen, Marion Brown and many others at vibraphonist Karl Berger’s Creative Music Studio in Woodstock.
ARTIST PERFORMANCE ASSOCIATIONS:
Andrew Cyrille, Craig Harris, David Murray, Oliver Lake, Monte Croft, Stefon Harris, Rodney Kendrick, Karl Berger, Carlos Garnett, Santi Debriano, Billy Cobham, Danilo Perez, poet Sekou Sundiata, Composer Dr. George Brandon's Blue Unity Sextet and Orchestra;
The Black Rock Coalition Orchestra, Kuumba Frank Lacy’s Vibe Tribe, Next Legacy Orchestra, Joe Bowie’s Defunkt Big Band and Nora McCarthy who is a member of his group(s) The ACE (Afro-Caribbean Experimental) Collective and its extended edition with strings. Since their collaboration that began in 2000, Ms. McCarthy also co-leads several groups with Sylvester, namely: The ConceptualMotion Orchestra and A Small Dream In Red (voice and saxophone duet)
A CD by the same name was released on the Sundown label in March, 2003 and in 2013, In the Language of Dreams was released on their RedZen Records label. Both CDs garnered rave reviews establishing them as one of the world’s most unique and innovative duos performing in this format and instrumentation.
Andrew Cyrille at The Kitchen NYC, Europe with Joe Bowie’s Defunkt Big Band; Performances with Trombonist composer Craig Harris; Europe and Israel with the World Saxophone Quartet; Danilo Perez’s Panamanian Jazz All Stars for the Panama Jazz Festival; Podgorica, Montenegro Jazz Appreciation Month Series with A Small Dream in Red and appeared on the television show, Good Morning Montenegro; concert and recording in Linz, Austria at the Brucknerhaus Concert Hall with Jorge Sylvester ACE Collective; Vision Festival X, NYC with ConceptualMotion Orchestra; the Baha’i Center, Dizzy Gillespie Theater, NYC yearly residency from 2010 to present with CMO; and, monthly residency (both performances and workshops) at El Taller Latino Americano Arts Center, NYC with CMO featuring guest artists since 2018.
Jorge Sylvester Spirit Driven Quintet featuring Nora McCarthy recently performed in concert at Clements Place, a jazz venue in association with Rutgers University in Newark, NJ.
Mr. Sylvester composes, arranges and conducts new music for his various groups and his ever expanding projects; performs frequently, teaches privately and conducts workshops throughout New York and elsewhere in the United States teaching his unique approach to composition using Afro-Caribbean rhythms.
Mayhem at Large: Jorge Sylvester Spontaneous Expressions Octet, release date 2021; blesSINGS with Nora McCarthy People of Peace Quintet, RedZen Records, 2016); In the Language of Dreams with A Small Dream In Red Voice and Saxophone Duo (RedZen Records, 2013); Spirit Driven with Jorge Sylvester ACE Collective (RedZen Records 2010 rel. 2013); Toward the Hill Of Joy Featuring Nora McCarthy with George Brandon Blue Unity Ensemble (Blue Unity Music, 2011); Playground with Lucian Ban & Asymmetry (Jazzaway Records, 2005);
A Small Dream in Red with A Small Dream In Red Voice and Saxophone Duo, (Sundown Jazz Records, CSU, 2003); The Mass (Palmetto Records, 2000) with the Collective Identity Saxophone Quartet featuring Sam Newsome, Aaron Stewart and Alex Harding; Another Side (CIMP Records, 2000) with tenor saxophone Ken Simon Quartet featuring drummer Barry Altschul; Magic Night (Jazz Stop Records, Madrid Spain, 1989) with the Chastang/Sylvester Sextet; Viriato Blue (Jazz Stop Records, Madrid Spain, 1983.) with Miguel Angel Chastang Quintet; The Blue Oneness of Dreams (Mouth Almighty Records, 1997) with Poet Sekou Sundiata; The Essence All Stars featuring Doug Carn, Idris Muhammed and Josh Roseman (Hip Hop Records, 1997.)