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Early in my introduction to funk music, around age 13, I discovered James Brown’s Cold Sweat, and Cool Jerk by The Capitols. My mind was blown by this low, explosive, chainsaw type instrument kicking the whole band in the pants every two measures. So began my love story with the baritone saxophone.
I studied with local, Denver sax-masters Jim Stranahan, Matt White, and Mark Halberstadt. Encouraged by my band teacher, Memphis raised multi-instrumentalist and contemporary-music education phenom Steve Holley, I played bari in big bands, R&B bands, Salsa bands and in the horn section at my church, under the inspiring instruction of Denver-based trumpeter Jason Klobnac. My high school R&B/Soul ensemble won the 2010 DownBeat magazine "Best Pop/R&B/Rock Styles” award for our age group, and our 12-piece big band played at the 2010 University of Memphis Jazz Week, where I was awarded Outstanding Soloist.
When I moved to Los Angeles to attend music school at the University of Southern California, I considered giving up on the baritone saxophone - but after a couple years off, I couldn’t help but return to the bari, making special guest appearances in friends’ projects, subbing in the Thornton Jazz Orchestra and other big bands around town, and most recently performing with Lucky Daye on NPR's Tiny Desk concert series.