"Paliga is an interesting composer but he also may be the next great voice on the soprano sax." Cadence, January 2007
"Mitch has a beautiful sound on the soprano and some very compelling compositions that I enjoyed a lot. A stellar band as well."
"…exquisite lyric phrases from soprano saxophonist Mitch Paliga." Howard Reich, The Chicago Tribune
"The guitarist (Steve Ramsdell) would be hard pressed to find a better associate than Paliga, whose soprano compliments the writing throughout." Cadence Magazine
"…Paliga, although a fine tenorist, is known for his concentration on soprano saxophone." and,"…shares his mentor's (David Liebman) fascination with chromaticism, weaving erudite lines with grace and poise." New City
"In addition to the pianist’s (Jo Ann Daugherty) core trio, the most impressive sideman is Mitch Paliga, particularly on soprano". Scott Yanow, Allmusic.com
Born in the small isolated mountain town of Libby Montana, Mitch first heard music when his father would play the harmonica around the house. He liked to play old cowboy/folk tunes like "Red River Valley". His father, Nick, learned how to play the harmonica as a young boy from his childhood friend Lido Vizuti. Lido is the father of the well known trumpet player Alan Vizuti. Mitch's mother, Joyce, also played trumpet when she was in high school which was going to be his instrument but alas, he changed his mind at the last minute to the saxophone for reasons he still does not know.
In 1972 he joined the public school band program, started on alto saxophone and was hooked. While in High school Mitch encountered the soprano saxophone and soon learned that this was his voice. After high school he went to Rocky Mountain College for one year then to Eastern New Mexico University where he finished a music degree. After college Mitch left for Champaign-Urbana, Illinois to pursue a Masters degree. It didn't take long to figure out that this not where his interests lie. Playing professionally and in diverse situations was of more interest and the rich local music scene offered this. While in C-U Mitch performed in the West African Highlife ensemble Bontuku, the pop/rock/funk band Modern Humans as well as leading jazz quartets, quintets and working as a sideman in other jazz groups. After the invaluable experience the inevitable and obvious move was of course to Chicago.
Moving to Chicago in 1990 has offered many opportunities and experiences. As a performer Mitch has worked with Randy Brecker, Vinnie Colaiuta, actor Gary Sinise, Rudy Linka, Akio Sasajima, Damon Short, Jo Ann Daugherty, Fred Simon, Deanna Witkowski, John Elmquist's "Hard Art Groop", "Kimotion" and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. He is also a member of the Chicago Jazz Composers Collective.
In 1993, Mitch was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Study Grant to study with master saxophonist David Liebman. Liebman's influence was not just limited to saxophone playing and jazz improvisation but also composition. In 1998, Mitch received a master's degree in jazz pedagogy from Northwestern University. While at Northwestern he studied jazz arranging and advanced jazz composition with Don Owens, contributing original arrangements and compositions for the Northwestern jazz ensemble and jazz improvisation with Michael Kocour. In 2000, he received a City of Chicago Community Arts Assistance Program Grant to record his compositions for jazz quintet. Mitch is also an active educator in the Chicago area, teaching at Lake Forest College, Illinois Benedictine University, North Central College, and Old Town School of Folk Music and has a number of private students.
RETROFIT, Damon Short, 2007
BLITHE MOMENTS, Mitch Paliga 2006
FOOT & BIRD, Hard Art Group 2005
CASH COW, Hard Art Group 2005
RANGE OF MOTION, Jo Ann Daugherty 2005
DAWSON'S NEW RAGE, Mike Dawson 2004
KIMOTION LIVE, Kimotion 2004
JUMP IN, Radio Improved 2002
CHANGES WITHIN, John Menges 1999
DAWSON, Mike Dawson 1999
REAL WORLD, Ryan Cohan 1996
STEVE RAMSDELL, Steve Ramsdell 1995
MODERN HUMANS, Modern Humans 1988, unreleased
FRIENDS, Oscar Sulley 1987
BONTUKU, Oscar Sulley 1987