Below: Traditional Biography of Fiddle Jam Institute founder Geoffrey Fitzhugh Perry …in all it’s name-dropping glory! ;~)
Originally hailing from Buffalo, NY, Classically and Jazz trained, Rock ‘n’ Roll schooled, award winning, multi-instrumentalist, Geoffrey Fitzhugh Perry, has become a world-class master improviser, educator, and authority through his diverse musical and life experiences over the span of his 35-year professional career.
Highlights of Geoff’s experience include his electric violin and piccolo bass work with the virtuosic instrumental rock group “Gamalon” featuring ex-Spyro Gyra drummer Ted Reinhardt. The group’s MCA & Amherst Records history include a #8 Billboard Jazz Chart showing, recording and touring with sax great Ernie Watts, performing at the prestigious Newport Jazz Festival before a crowd of 40,000+, and countless testosterone-filled club dates where attendance records were often broken (*many of these performances can now be seen on YouTube). “Gamalon’s” music has been heard at many major sporting events including World Wrestling Federation TV shows, Buffalo Bills and Sabres games, and the Olympics. Geoff’s composition “Tecumseh” from the group’s “High Contrast” album was also featured on Japanese television.
More recently, Geoff turned his interests to representing the historical style of the gypsy jazz legend Django Reinhardt in the multiple award-winning group “Babik.” Babik has released two recordings (“Pronounced Bah-Beek” and “American Gypsy”) and a concert DVD, has been featured on Public Radio International’s “The World” show, and have played numerous festivals including the renowned Festivale Internationale in Lafayette, Louisiana, and participated in Stephane Wremble’s Django A-Go-Go Festival in New York City honoring Django’s 100th Birthday (footage of this historic concert at Joe’s Pub can be seen online). In 2008 Babik did their major symphony orchestra debut with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra with arrangements created by Brent Havens (creator of symphonic rock orchestra shows featuring the music of Led Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix, Queen, The Doors, and others).
Becoming a D’Addario strings endorsing artist and inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame in 2004, Geoff has also recorded and toured with Nashville New-Age guitarist Paul Carrol Binkley (Heart Dance Music, and a member of country supergroup Alabama’s back-up band), and recorded &/or performed with many of Buffalo’s most noted musicians like Ani DiFranco (independent folk-punk sensation), Loosely Tight (jazz fusion), The Vincent Michaels Band (pop rock), Emery Nash (folk fusion), Shakin Smith (blues harmonica virtuoso), Al Tinney (jazz piano legend), and Doug Yeomans (North American Rock Guitar Competition winner). Geoff did a 4 album/10-year stint with LeeRon Zydeco that often included drummer Sandy Konikoff (Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, The Band), and did a short stint as bassist with drummer Gary Mallaber (Van Morrison, Steve Miller Band, Bonnie Raitt, Eddy Money, others) in a group called “In From The Cold” with guitarist Jack Sherman (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Dylan). In early 2002, Geoff was asked to be part of jazz drummer Bobby Previte’s (Steve Swallow, Charlie Hunter, others) “Voodoo Orchestra West” to re-create Miles Davis’ historical “Bitches Brew” album live, with Geoff’s violin being assigned the awesome task of leading the improv-based horn section of this 12 piece band!
Geoff has also been seen on ESPN as Buffalo Sabres “Fiddleman!”, and has also released two solo recordings as Fitzhugh and the Fanatics entitled “Blue Standards” (stripped down-revved up “jazz” standards, his recorded vocal debut), and the rockin’-zydeco tinged “Flavor” (on the HotWings Entertainment label).
Also in 2002 Geoff made the decision to try to help others learn how to do what he had been doing for decades and join the then new “alternative-string” movement creating the Fiddle Jam Method and authoring “Fiddle Jam, a way-cool easy way to learn how to improvise!” that is now distributed world-wide by the Hal Leonard Corporation. Since the book & CD’s release Geoff has done dozens of improvisational Fiddle Jam Clinics in schools nation-wide where he takes over the school orchestra for the day and gets all the kids to jam, and has been a guest speaker at many music teaching conferences (ASTA, NYSSMA, others) getting the chance to teach the teachers how to jam! A follow-up book “Rock n’ Blues Fiddle Atoodz” is now going into it’s 3rd edition (see those materials here on Fiddle Jam Institute), and of course, this online school, The Fiddle Jam Institute where Geoff’s educational interests are taken “beyond the book.”
As a family man in the 1990’s Geoff’s career focused more on education while staying closer to home with stints as an elementary and middle school string director at various schools (including Buffalo’s prestigious Nichols School, and the Aurora Waldorf School). He also did hundred’s of “arts integration” school assemblies while a member of Young Audiences and the McClue Artist Guild during this era.
Most recently Geoff has released a new recording of electronica-based electric violin music entitled “Conflation” for Translucent Records (available on iTunes, Amazon and other fine online retailers), is continuing to develop materials for the Fiddle Jam Institute website, and is experimenting with manufacturing techniques in his shop creating carbon fiber violin tops and “art tailpieces,” and a new kind of electric violin pick-up, that will be available through his sister site OutlawFiddle.com.