Born Preston, Lancashire, 22 February 1939, baritone saxophone, tarogato.
George Haslam is largely self-taught - his tuition involved 'a few private lessons and a lot of practice' - and throughout the 1950s and '60s he undertook extensive work with dance bands and jazz before moving into free jazz and improvisation in the 1970s. Early influences were Lester Young and Gerry Mulligan.
In the early 1980s he worked extensively in eastern Europe, particularly in Hungary, as a soloist and with his group The Siger Band: Paul Rutherford, Pete McPhail, Tony Moore and Nigel Morris. In 1986 he played in Mexico as well as leading the first British jazz group to play in Cuba, and in 1990 was the first British jazz musician to play in Argentina. Since then he has returned regularly to play in Cuba and Argentina and, in particular has begun to record, and record with, Argentine musicians.
Haslam has worked with a range of artists from Nat Gonella to Arturo Sandoval, Derek Bailey to Victor Sylvester, Mal Waldron, Steve Lacy, Charlie Mariano, Stan Tracey, Valery Ponomarev, Joachim Kuhn... He has deliberately taken this eclectic approach to music, partly to avoid pigeon-holing, but largely because it reflects his very diverse interests and love of different musics. In 1989 he formed SLAM Productions originally to release his own music but now encompassing many other free jazz and improvising musicians: Elton Dean, Howard Riley, Paul Rutherford, Lol Coxhill, Paul Dunmall, Steve Lacy, Mal Waldron, reflecting Haslam's wide range of interests and playing situations.
Education and working with young musicians is a very important area of his Haslam's work and he gives individual tuition on saxophone both in schools and privately, coaches youth big bands and organises workshops on Learning the blues which he has presented over the years from South America to Hong Kong.
George Haslam's present work in solo improvisation, and with Mal Waldron, Level Two, and as a member of the British Saxophone Quartet (with Lol Coxhill, Elton Dean and Simon Picard) provides opportunities across a wide spectrum of jazz and improvisation. He also continues to tour widely, particularly in South America, East Europe (Hong Kong in January 1998) and more recently in Russia, Ukraine and Finland.
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