Jack Prybylski – Saxophone - Performer
BMHOF Class of 2014
Jack Prybylski has seen his music reach success locally, regionally and nationally – all while keeping his home base in his hometown of Amherst.
Prybylski started playing the saxophone was he was just 7. He considers it to have been a conspiracy between his parents and the elementary school music teacher because he originally wanted to be a drummer, but his music teacher told him to pick something else. Prybylski’s reason for choosing the saxophone made perfect 7-year-old sense; saxophone has the letter “x” in it and all things his father worked on with an aerospace company had an “x” in them. Therefore, since the work his dad did was cool, saxophone must be cool, too!Now an award-winning musician with hit jazz songs playing on the radio, Prybylski can thank his elementary school teacher, and his parents, for the push.
After high school, Prybylski attended the University at Buffalo and went on to be a music teacher. He taught for 30 years in the Niagara Falls City School Districts before his recent retirement. His teaching career started off with elementary music education, then junior high school, and he finished by teaching high school. Over the years he taught both vocal and instrumental music and quipped he was the “cool music teacher” who had his students sing pop songs in chorus.
Prybylski has played with a number of bands over the years including Only Humen (‘80s), Sav La Faire (‘80s), Them Jazzbeards (1989 to present), Urban Renewal (mid 2000s), Brother 2 Brother (mid to late 2000s), and currently the Rod Nixon Project, The Patti Parks Band and the Chicago Authority, a Chicago tribute band. He has also teamed up with Tony Grace and Rob DeBoer of Toronto’s Four 80 East, who wrote and produced material for Prybylski’s solo albums.
While Prybylski has appeared on a number of albums, some of the most prominent of his releases are four with Them Jazzbeards – “Highballs, Lowbrows and Presbyterians “(1994), “Dirty White Loafers” (1995), the soundtrack for the film “Shadow Creatures” (1998), and “Armed and Hammered” (1999).
In addition, he also has three solo releases – “Soho Strut” (2002), “Window Shopping”(2006) and “Out of the Box” (2010).
His involvement with Them Jazzbeards began when David Kane was doing a series of different events at a local venue that were a spoof on Las Vegas’s Buddy Diamond Show. Prybylski was playing sax with Decay of Western Civilization for one of the shows. The musicians would do goofy things like wearing black turtlenecks and berets, coloring their thumbs and passing out clickers for the audience to use instead of clapping. As goofy as the acts were, though, the band was successful and it was clear that there was something more there. Made up of keyboards, bass, percussion, strings, guitar and Prybylski on sax, the group kept playing. They are still together today and do a series of events over the summer affectionately nicknamed the “Jazzbeards Summer Camp.”
The originality of of Them Jazzbeardsmotivated Prybylski’s solo career. His favorite Jazzbeards album was “Dirty White Loafers” because it came out when they were at the height of their game. He still enjoys listening to the albums and hearing his own development. That development continued into his solo albums and eventually landed Prybylski radio airtime.
Prybylski’s radio success came with his album “Out of the Box.” The track “Down To It” topped jazz charts in 2011. The track was written by Grace and DeBoer and performed by Prybylski.Prybylski said, “[It was] amazing to hear it on the radio and see it on display on the XM radio in my car.”
Radio success is not all Prybylski has earned though. His exceptional performances on the saxophone earned him the Buffalo Music Award for top saxophone for 12 years in a row now.
There are a lot of memories for Prybylski in Buffalo. From freezing onstage in the ‘90s while Them Jazzbeards were opening for his idol, David Sanborn, to countless performances at his favorite venue in Buffalo, The Sportsmen’s Tavern, Prybylski thinks of the Buffalo music scene with fondness. To him, the best thing about the Buffalo music scene is the great level of musicianship you can find all around the city. With so many talented musicians calling Buffalo home, Prybylski is proud to be a 2014 Buffalo Music Hall of Fame inductee.
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