Since establishing himself among the Denver area’s elite jazz musicians, Peter Sommer has contributed his energetic tenor playing and creative spirit to a wide variety of musical projects ranging from mainstream bebop to avant garde and beyond at venues across the nation and around the world. Although rooted in the great jazz tradition of his heroes Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, he continues to search for the mystery in music making and takes great joy in sharing the present moment with the listener.
Peter has released five albums as a leader. His latest release, Happy-Go-Lucky Locals (2017), features his working septet of Front Range jazz masters playing original arrangements and compositions inspired by legends of the art form. Previous releases include Sioux County (2006) on Tapestry Records, featuring his original compositions in duo with jazz piano legend Art Lande, Crossroads (2008) on Capri Records, featuring a two-tenor frontline with the great NYC saxophonist Rich Perry, and Tremolo Canteen (2010) and Narrando Historias (2015) on Dazzle Recordings.
From a May 2009 Saxophone Journal review of Crossroads, “(Sommer) is the possessor of a dark, gritty sound, clean, fast technique, melodic ideas and a true understanding of the post-bebop style. In addition, he is fearless, thus the inclusion of one of the most original voices of the tenor saxophone in jazz as a guest artist, Rich Perry. . . . Together the two tenor players complement each other perfectly. . . . After hearing this CD, the name Peter Sommer will certainly jump out at you in a big way; this guy delivers.”
Peter is a regular member of the Ken Walker Sextet, the Ben Markley Big Band, the New Third Stream Saxophone Quartet, the Wil Swindler Elevenet, the Dave Caffey Jazz Orchestra, the H2 Big Band, Ninth and Lincoln (modern big band under the direction of Tyler Gilmore), the Fred Hess Big Band, the Colorado Jazz Orchestra, and is an honorary member of the Russian Dragon Band. He also performs often as a soloist, in duo with Art Lande, and as a leader of his own septet and quartet.
Sommer is also active as a concert saxophonist, performing recitals of newly commissioned pieces and masterworks both regionally and abroad. Recent performances include John Mackey's Soprano Saxophone Concerto and David Biedenbender's “Dreams in Dusk” with the Colorado State University Symphonic Band. He was also a member of the consortium to commission a new soprano saxophone concerto from William Bolcom, which he premiered in Fall 2016 with the CSU Wind Symphony.
Peter has performed with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, and has been a featured jazz soloist at North American Saxophone Alliance Regional and Biennial Conferences. He has also performed at IAJE International Conferences in Anaheim and Toronto, Canada, at the Jeju International Wind Ensemble Festival in South Korea, and has performed at World Saxophone Congresses in Valencia, Spain, Bangkok, Thailand, St. Andrews, Scotland and Strasbourg, France.
Peter Sommer is Associate Professor of Jazz Studies and Saxophone at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins and serves as the Woodwind Area and Jazz Area coordinator for the School of Music, Theatre and Dance. He is a D’Addario Woodwinds Artist and performs exclusive on Select Jazz and Reserve Reeds on all of his instruments.