Paul FurnissPaul Furniss

From the CD "The Taste of Jazz
- the Storyville Jazztet"

Paul Furniss is first and foremost a clarinetist/saxophonist. He nevertheless plays mainly in the jazz idiom in a style which encompasses its many facets, and is one of Australia's best known and respected jazz musicians.

Born in 1944, Paul began music studies early with Victor McMahon, a wonderful flautist/musician who taught many of Australia's finest, including the great jazz musician/ambasssador Don Burrows. Don was an early inspiration and taught Paul after he caught the "jazz bug" around the age of 15 years.

Over the years Paul has had long associations with many of Sydney's leading jazz bands, including Geoff Bull's Olympia Jazz Band, the Adrian Ford Big Band, the band of the late Nancy Stuart, a 9 year stint with Graeme Bell's All Stars, and also Paul's own Eclipse Alley Five, and now the San Francisco Jazz Band.

Parallel with his work in jazz bands during the earlier years Paul spent some time working as an electrical engineer until the advent of the Jazz Studies program at the NSW Conservatorium of Music, at which time he became heavily involved both as a student and lecturer.

In 1975, after the inception of Tom Baker's San Francisco Jazz Band, Paul, who was an inaugural member of the band, toured with them in the USA. After Tom's departure from his highly acclaimed band Paul became its leader. There have been very few changes in the band's line-up since.

Paul was chosen to join Bill Dillard's black American band for the show "One Mo' Time" in 1982, which ran for several months in both Melbourne and Sydney. He toured with Bill Dillard and the Blue Serenaders in Australia the following year for the Victorian Arts Council.

In 1990 he spent several months overseas, playing in cities such as Auckland, San Francisco, New Orleans, San Antonio, New York, Breda, London, Bonn, Dusseldorf, Der Haag, Paris, Ascona, Osaka and Kobe. A further overseas tour in 1992 took him to Yorkshire, Ascona, London, New York and Osaka once again.

Paul, who plays clarinet, flute, soprano alto and tenor saxophones, has a distinctive and powerful style. He is recognised both internationally and at home as a very talented jazz musician of whom Australia can indeed be proud.

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