Randy Scott: From The Heart
RS: I started playing in his band about two years ago. I told Tim that I had a track that I wanted him to play on. He is so easy going that he agreed to do it right away. He liked the track so much, that he then asked me to produce a song on his record. The song turned out really well and so he had me produce about six or seven songs on the new record that he will be releasing soon. It has been an honor to work with him.
AAJ: I can imagine. You teach band at a local middle school and have been known to give your students opportunities to perform as the opening act for established artists.
RS: It is directly related to my professional career as a musician. I think that the biggest challenge for any teacher is to give jazz band as a class. Jazz band is usually before school or after school, one day a week. I have been fortunate to teach the class everyday as part of the regular school day. I think my administration sees the value of doing it. It wasn't always like that. I used to rehearse before and after school. I would have the students open a show for me and I would invite the entire community.
I started to get some really big gigs. I think the first was a gig with Najee. Even though they were middle school students, I felt that they could handle the challenge. I ended up charting out music for them with me as a soloist. I performed it with them and it went over really well and that led to them opening for Walter Beasley at one of his concerts, and that also went very well. From that experience they will be opening for Earl Klugh in November of this year .
AAJ: That is fantastic! It sounds like they are a group of very talented students.
RS: Middle school is only three years. So, the biggest challenge is that unfortunately a lot of the students leave and go to high schoolespecially if I have a class filled with eighth grade students. It can be very challenging when you have to prepare for a concert, but it is very rewarding; especially to see their faces as they walk into a sold-out auditorium. They see first hand the importance of practicing, which is what I drill in them everyday. When they see the outcome, it makes them want to practice even more.
AAJ: That is really great, especially in light of so many music programs that are cut every year from schools. It is so important for students to have these opportunities. You are a guest lecturer for a graduate course in jazz history at Central Michigan University. Is this something that you have wanted to explore?
RS: The jazz history course that I lecture for is a Masters program at Central Michigan University. I enjoy it, but I also enjoy taking a lot of that same material and sharing it with my middle school students, because a lot of them only listen to rap and hip-hop. For that reason, jazz seems to have become a lost art form and I want to definitely try to keep that alive.
I really appreciate the support that the fans have given me over the years. The first two CDs I released did not do very well. But, my fans have always been there regardless of how much airplay that I have garnered. I did a show not too long ago and someone had me sign a CD for them and it was my very first CDthat blew me away. To all my supportersthank you.
Randy Scott, Breathe (MegaWave Records, 2007)
Randy Scott, Words Unspoken (Orpheus Records, 2002)
Randy Scott, Future (Timbre Records, 1999)
Randy Scott, Randy Scott (R&R Records, 1994)
Photo Credit Courtesy of Randy Scott