saxophonist | improvisor | bandleader
Peyton Pleninger is a Philadelphia born saxophonist, improviser and bandleader. At age 4 he began learning the piano, and at age 10 he picked up the alto saxophone in the school band, which he gradually began to favor over the piano. 4 years later, Pleninger was gifted a hand-me-down tenor, which faded his passion for dental surgery and captured his full musical attention. The new tenor, in combination with hearing recordings of John Coltrane, set Pleninger on a lifelong pursuit to improvise at the highest level.
In 2012, Peyton was accepted into the Kimmel Center Creative Music Program (CMP), under the direction of Anthony Tidd, where he studied modern forms of rhythm and improvisation until 2014. It was during these 2 years when Pleninger met Steve Coleman, with whom he formed a lasting, mentee type relationship. Since their first meeting, Peyton has relentlessly followed Steve to performances and workshops in Philly, NYC and Detroit, in order to gain a deeper understanding of rhythm, melody and history.
In 2015, Pleninger met drummer, healer and polymath Milford Graves after attending his solo performance at Brandeis University in Boston. Their meeting led to informal study and mentor ship from Graves and his community of (music and martial arts) students, as well as “The Heartbeat Lesson”, in which Graves recorded Pleninger’s heart sound and EKG on home-lab equipment. Graves spurred Peyton on a lifelong quest to explore music from a medical/healing perspective and realize the relationship of vibration on the human organism.
In 2015, driven by the rhythmic and esoteric musical languages built by Coleman and Graves, Pleninger formed the first iteration of his band Biotonic. In its infancy, Biotonic explored the relationship of sound on the human experience and physiology through original compositions, and later evolved to explore moment music by juggling spontaneous and predetermined material. Biotonic has performed throughout NYC at such venues as The 55 Bar, The Jazz Gallery and Seeds Brooklyn, and has released 2 EP’s: “intro::extro” and “Heartbeat Music”
In addition to his work as a bandleader, Peyton works as a dedicated sideman with multiple projects. Pleninger plays in drummer/composer Colin Hinton’s Glassbath, an electric band straddling post rock and free jazz, which released its inaugural album February 2018. Pleninger performs with drummer/composer Michel Maurer’s Meridian, a forward-thinking jazz-rooted quartet, which recorded its debut set to release winter 2019. In summer 2017, Pleninger toured Canada for 5 weeks with guitarist Quinn Bachand’s Brishen, an acoustic band honoring the tradition of gypsy jazz and the roots of rock n roll. Highlight performances include the Toronto Jazz Festival, Montreal International Jazz Festival, and CBC Canada.