All in the Family: Saxophonist Peter Formanek's senior recital


Peter Formanek is a 22-year-old saxophonist who is about to graduate from the University of Michigan's School of Music, Theatre & Dance with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

But he's been studying music with a Ph.D.-level teacher his whole life.

His father, Michael Formanek, toured with giants like Tony Williams and Joe Henderson when he was still a teen in the early 1970s, and he went on to play with Freddie Hubbard, Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, Tim Berne, and Fred Hersch, among many others. He also records as a leader for ECM Records, one of the greatest jazz and classical labels ever.

As the younger Formanek mentioned at Love Songs, his senior recital on Monday, Nov. 27, at Kerrytown Concert House, there were always great musicians coming over to his family's home in Baltimore, Md. As he said while introducing his father, who joined him for the evening's final song, "I'm going to call up my dad, who is not only the person responsible for getting me into music but also giving me so many musical opportunities and access to all these really, really amazing musicians that I've been able to be around my entire life."

Formanek live-streamed his recital, which is archived on YouTube. (There will also be a high-quality edited version with audio from the board.) Below you'll find the list of musicians who joined him and the set list, which includes songs by Charles Mingus and Wayne Shorter, along with four Formanek originals -- three by Peter and the set closer by his dad.

You can stream the whole thing above, but you'll be getting a lot of dead air and you might get ravenous watching folks gobble food at intermission. Or you can jump to the times listed for the start of the songs.

Set one:
21:28: "Orange Was the Colour of Her Dress, Then Blue Silk" (1964) by Charles Mingus
36:49: "Duke Ellington's Sound of Love" (1974) by Charles Mingus
43:21: improvisation for tenor sax and drums
48:54: "Teru" (1966) by Wayne Shorter
58:37: "John Coltrane" (1973) by Bill Lee

Set two:
1:33:49: "Finding Strength in Limitations" (2015) by Peter Formanek
1:45:24: "Retracing My Steps" (2014) by Peter Formanek
1:58:27: "Look Ahead" (2017) by Peter Formanek
2:07:45: "The Distance" (2014) by Michael Formanek

The rotating cast of musicians included Tristan Cappel (bass clarinet, alto sax), Noah Henriksson (trumpet), Josh Harlow (piano), Tim Flood (bass), Cory Tripathy (drums), Christopher Tabaczynski (baritone sax), Ben Willis (bass), Jon Taylor (drums), Kenji Lee (tenor sax), and the Formaneks, Peter (tenor sax, clarinet, flute) and Michael (bass).


Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.


Peter Formanek and Josh Harlow play sax-piano duets at Old Town Tavern, 122 W. Liberty Rd, Ann Arbor, 8-10 pm, on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Free with donations suggested for the artists.