Meet the Band: Nathan-Paul (saxophone)
A PASTOR'S SON: Local saxophonist Nathan-Paul originally sang in a third-grade choir in his elementary school. After his father, a pastor, got him a saxophone, he found it was "immediately easy" to play the instrument because he had learned to play recorder in school and those skills transferred to the sax. Influenced by Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Louis Armstrong, he began playing music as a way of honoring his father. "My music career has evolved over the time, but it's really just a testament to my relationship with my father," he says. "One of the biggest thing we connected on was music. He loved music and passed his love of music on to me. I wanted to make him proud, and that's the basics there. People don't understand. This is really a reflection of my and my father's relationship more than anything."
AN ADMIRABLE EFFORT: A few years ago when local soul singer Wesley Bright threw himself a birthday party, he requested Nathan-Paul perform at the event. "He wanted it to be a show, so he wanted us to create a band just for the event," says Nathan-Paul. "We came up with the group name and everything. We were looking for synonyms for 'charming' and 'admirable qualities.' That's how 'Admirables' came about. We never intended to keep it going, but someone said it was something special. We decided to try it, and we're still a band even though it's changed a lot. The only constant is myself and the bass player."
NOW WITH NATIONAL DISTRIBUTION: Nathan-Paul recently inked a deal with the nationally distributed Ropeadope Records to release "The Shakedown," his first single for the label. That song came out earlier this year, and a three-song EP mixed and mastered locally by Jeff Koval and engineered by Jim Stewart followed. "I sent them an email and I forgot I sent them an email," he says. "That's just what you do. I sent [label owner] Louis [Marks] a private Soundcloud link. I didn't expect a response. In a month later, he responded. We talked and the deal was made. It was a cold, random email from a stranger."
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR HIM: Originally a song he wrote for the Admirables, "The Shakedown" features a stirring sax riff and has a terrifically funky vibe. "I write a lot," says Nathan-Paul when asked about the track. "I write all the time. Some people have their hobbies. Some people like to drink wine, but I write music. It doesn't have to be for anything. I just write music for fun. I was writing a lot and I took a nap thinking I should write a song. I just heard the song in my head. It was already there. I thought, 'Oh my gosh. Wow.' I just wrote it down. I don't write songs off emotional things. I just sit down and start messing around. To me, everything is a song." For the upcoming release parties, Nathan-Paul has assembled a "new squad" of local players to back him up. He'll record the shows for a "bootleg" album he'll issue later this year. "It's a superstar group," he says of the backing band.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE HIM: Nathan-Paul performs at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 13, at Blu Jazz+ in Akron, and at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 20, at the Bop Stop