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Saxophone/ Woodwinds/ Bandleader/ Composer/ Arranger/ Recording Artist/ Educator
Rising star saxophonist, composer and bandleader Sharel Cassity (pronounced sha-REL) is quickly making waves on the New York and international jazz scenes with her fiery and soulful style of playing. A native of Yukon, Oklahoma, Sharel began playing saxophone at age 9. She attended the New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music followed by a full scholarship to the Juilliard School for her Master's degree. She has two albums out as a leader, and has appeared at venues such as the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Blue Note Jazz Club, the Iridium, the Newport Jazz Festival and Dizzy's Club Coca Cola. Besides performing with her own band, Sharel is currently a sideman with some of the most renowned jazz artists today including Jimmy Heath, Nicholas Payton, Joe Chambers, Cyrus Chestnut, Orrin Evans, the Dizzy Gillespie All Stars, Darcy James Argue, John Lee and Diva. In addition, Sharel has performed alongside Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, James Moody, Antonio Hart, Natalie Cole, Lewis Nash, Sonny Fortune, Anat Cohen and Monty Alexander. Sharel has been voted Rising Star Alto Saxophone in the Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll from 2010- 2013, was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in 2011, and received a four star Downbeat rating for her sophomore release, Relentless (Jazz Legacy Productions). She recently toured Europe as part of the Dizzy Gillespie Afro Cuban Sextet and is working on her third album as leader on the Venus Japan label.