Michael-Paul Gurulé, 38, and his ensemble, Nuages (pronounced: noo-aj), have a regular gig every third Saturday at Skylark's Hidden Café in Fairhaven. The next one is Saturday, April 20, at 8 p.m.
The trio plays jazz with R&B stylings on saxophone, guitar and bass.
Michael received a bachelor's degree in music composition and saxophone performance, and a master's in choral conducting, both from Western Washington University.
As a conductor, he works mainly with choirs, but he has also worked with jazz ensembles, wind ensembles and chamber music. He's also a private music instructor, teaching composition, saxophone and guitar.
Among his musical favorites are Paul Desmond, Stan Getz, Philip Glass, Eric Satie, Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy.
Question: When did you first become seriously interested in music?
Answer: I just loved music as a child! I joined the school band and started on the trombone, then the flute and finally switched to saxophone.
In junior high I developed an interest in jazz and dreamed of becoming a jazz saxophonist; my hero was Charlie Parker, his was also the only real jazz tape I owned. I played with various big bands and as a fill-in side man for a variety of folks.
Q: What are your day jobs?
A: I work for Lynden Christian Schools as the director of bands. And I also conduct the choir at First Presbyterian Church on Garden Street. I love conducting.
Q: Why do you enjoy the jobs?
A: I enjoy bringing people together to make music. To me, conducting is like sculpting clay. I get a wet lump and start shaping, molding, cutting, removing, squishing - you name it. And then, finally after the fire, voila, music!
Q: What's Nuages all about?
A: "Nuages" is a title of a piece by Django Reinhardt. Nuages is French for "clouds."
Since high school I have always found myself in bands where I was working more with guitarists than with pianists. As a result, I have grown to love the combination of bass, guitar and saxophone.
With Travis Sipher on bass and David Campbell on guitar we play much of the repertoire coming from gypsy jazz all the way through the Paul Desmond/Jim Hall collaborations of the sixties and seventies. We strive to make a clear and elegant sound, which is great for relaxing with a wine or beer.
Q: What do you enjoy in your spare time?
A: I enjoy being with my wife, Nadene. (He met and married his wife at First Baptist Church in Vancouver, B.C., where Michael did music internship and helped conduct the choir for several years.) Together we like to take road trips, hike, bike, and camp when time allows.
We enjoy getting into the downtown core of Bellingham and enjoying the variety of healthy eats that Bellingham has to offer. However, when everything is all quiet, we sometimes spend some moments playing classical guitar together.