On my daily treks through the ‘Net I sometimes come across these little gems that defy categorization. Such is the case with New York-based, baritone sax-driven band Moisturizer.
Moisturizer is a 4 piece instrumental rock band that was founded in 1998 by baritone sax player “Moist” Paula Henderson, and electric bass player “Moist” Gina Rodriguez. In the band’s words: “no words, no chords”. To get an idea of what they do, just hop onto their MySpace page, and listen to a small sampling of some of their dozens of original compositions.
I find Moist Paula’s description of her beginnings as a saxophonist, and her evolution into a performer who quit her secretarial day job, quite interesting. I especially like the artistic expression she has given it through her solo album, Secret Life of Secretary. This is what she says:
Since the day my friend Paul Cumming knocked on my door with a tenor sax in his hand saying “this is yours for a month and if you like it you have to come up with $400″, I’ve had many exciting saxophonic adventures, particularly since as a result of what turned out to be an opportune theft I switched to bari, which I’ve wielded live and/or in the studio with many of my musical heroes including James Chance & The Contortions, Gogol Bordello, TV on the Radio, The Roots, Martin Luther & Cody Chesnutt, Ed Kuepper and many more.
Moisturizer is still my main musical squeeze and in New York I continue to play every week with Reverend Vince Anderson & The Love Choir (in our 12th year!); and Burnt Sugar: The Arkestra Chamber, Greg Tate’s conducted improvised orchestral organism.
At the end of 2006 I quit my part-time secretary job and started a solo saxtronic project, Secretary. I recorded and released my first solo album, Secret Life of Secretary and performed the material in a variety of spaces including a storefront gallery, a theatre, a coffee shop, a cinema, rock clubs and All Tomorrows Parties festival. Then I got lonely and turned it into a collaborative duo called SECRETARY feat. BigBoss.
As part of The Hedonistic Horns, I have recorded and performed with Derrin Maxwell, The Dry Yai crew of Sierra Leone, The Bogmen, GanoRyan, Deepa Soul, Wakey Wakey, Looker, Shelley Nicole and many others. And I always want more!
As I hopped from site to site, and listened to the various videos and tracks that featured Moist Paula, a constant was the projection that she played with, and consistent bottom that she provided to the horn sections she worked with. When Paula Henderson plays baritone sax, you have an anchor. She is definitely not a shy player.
Here she is playing with TV on the Radio, when the band performed their song Dancing Choose, live on the Dave Letterman show.
I’m always happy to see a woman playing one of the bigger saxophones. I just want to know how Moist Paula does it in heels!
© 2009, Helen. All rights reserved.