One of the most versatile and cosmopolitan saxophonists in pop, soul and contemporary jazz for nearly 20 years, Michael Paulo has added his distinct saxpertise to a virtual who’s who of artists, including Al Jarreau (Paulo’s longest term touring association), James Ingram, No. 1 Smooth Jazz Trumpeter and guitarist Rick Braun and Peter White, Oleta Adams, Kenny Loggins, Patti Austin, Jeffrey Osborne, Jeff Lorber, David Benoit, Carl Anderson, Bobby Caldwell, Johnny Mathis and more.
Paulo grew up in a musical family (his father a pianist, his mother a singer, his siblings all playing instruments) and though he came upon the sax relatively late at age 15, he quickly became first horn player in his high school band and was playing professional gigs around the islands within a few years. Rather than accept a scholarship to North Texas State, he chose a more adventurous road by joining Hawaiian pop/rock band Kalapana, which had some success on the mainland but was most popular in Japan. After playing regularly and recording on all four of Kalapana’s albums from 1975 through 1979, Paulo recorded a solo album for Japanese release on Trio records. In addition to exposing him to the Japanese jazz audience, Tats in the Rainbow gave him the opportunity to work with legendary pianist Herbie Hancock.
Paulo moved to Los Angeles in 1981 and quickly established himself by playing with percussionist Ray Armondo and a local R&B outfit featuring members of Rufus. Two years later, he caught his big break when Al Jarreau hired him for his touring band. The young saxman became an integral part of the Jarreau experience while touring the world for the next decade. Paulo also gained international recognition as a result of his work on Jarreau’s famed “Live in London” release.
In 1988, Paulo met producer Robert Kraft while recording a solo for singer /songwriter Vonda Sheppard . Impressed with the young saxophonist talent, Kraft secured Michael a major recording contract with MCA Records. Kraft produced his MCA debut One Passion, which became a Top Ten hit on the contemporary Jazz/NAC charts. 1990’s Fusebox, on GRP Records which charted in the Top 20 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart.
In 1994 Paulo launched his own label Noteworthy Records with the release of his fourth solo project Save the Children. Paulo spent much of the Nineties managing Noteworthy Records and touring with other artists, strengthening his solo career overseas with many Asian tours as well. Internationally, he is especially beloved in Asia and Thailand where Save the Children was first released. While that album found Paulo reflecting on the joys of fatherhood and his many world excursions, its similarly successful 1996 follow-up, My Heart and Soul, was about the simple balance between Paulo’s passions for slamming funk and dreamy balladry. My Heart and Soul was immediately a top ten Smooth Jazz hit. Continue reading