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Senior Heads Independent Jazz Band

At what age did you start music?
At 11, The opportunity presented itself through the school. They where like if you want to play an instrument thats cool we will get you all together to play on Tuesday, and I was like I’ll do that. At the beginning I thought it could be fun.

What made you want to play the Sax?
I started on the clarinet, I played it thinking the saxophone was cool in fifth grade, so I started on clarinet so I would be better at saxaphone. I played the clarinet but wasn’t very serious. I only practiced once a week, and was not diligent. Eventually when I got into highschool there were some really killin people playing saxaphone who influenced me to play. Someone who really inspired me to play was a guy named Andrew Long who was very talented. So freshman year I started getting serious about the saxaphone. I didn’t really start practicing diligently though until the end of sophomore year. Like I worked hard but I wasn’t working as hard as I am today.

Greatest personal accomplishment?
I would say I have certain accolades, but they are not what is truly meaningful to mean. I do have certain accolades such as all state musician, but that is not what I find personally fulfilling, but it is nice to have that title, it’s not what’s truly meaningful to me. My biggest accomplishment is being sort of known around Kansas City and getting to go out and play with musicians around KC. As a 17 year old getting to go and play with professionals has been really cool.

I go down to the Blue Room downtown, and to the Phoenix. At the Phoenix I always play with a really talented guy on the guitar called Matt Hopper. I got connected when I first started taking lessons with people. Also going out and listening to live music has helped me meet people. You can’t be shy I about it, I have no problem going up to these artist and telling them how much I love their music. I take lessons from a guy named Matt Otto, he is a genius and one of the best in the city. I have gotten a lot of connections through him. He is one of the best connections since he is so well known. Brett Jackson is another connection who plays ever kind of saxaphone there is. Mark farmer is another connection I have, because I work with him. He is a technician, and invents his own things, like his own series of ligatures.

I play five instruments. I can play, clarinet, flute, bass clarinet, soprano saxaphone which is higher pitch and tenor saxaphone which is my main.

What do you want to do career wise?
First of all I am going to get bachelors degree in jazz studies most likely. After that I plan on getting my masters in music as well. I am pretty sure I am going to go to a school in New York, that is connected off of PARSONS. It is called The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. They are both part of this larger thing called The New School. UMKC is my safety school, but they do have a really good program. I plan on playing around town, professionally, in clubs and bars. To keep a steady income, I would want to do private lessons for people. A lot of people teach at universities as well, which I am interested in as well.

Who are your greatest musical inspirations?
John Coltrane is definitely my favorite saxophone player, he is just a total complete genius. Everything he did is just impeccable. Charlie Parker, who grew up here. He influences a lot of musicians, because he invented another type of way to play jazz. The typical is Dixie Land, but Charlie Parker brought in the new wave of music, and ways to play. I also love soul, R&B especially Marvin Gaye for his beautiful voice and lyrics. Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse and the Shins all have beautiful melodies and lyrics that I respect as well.

How did you start your jazz band?
It has been a tradition for people in the jazz program at East to start their own band and go out and gig and make money. I thought that since I am a senior, it is time to carry on the legacy. I did want to do my own thing though. I also thought that as a senior I need to get more experience for college, and make some money. It’s a quartet.

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