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Take Five With D.J. Sweeney

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D.J. Sweeney Meet D.J. Sweeney:

She's sung all her life, but just recently started singing at clubs with some of the greatest jazz musicians in Kansas City.

Instrument(s):

Vocal, guitar, piano bass and drums. An occasional trumpet or sax.

Teachers and/or influences? Carol Comer, Everette DeVan and Rich Hill. All of these are Kansas City peeps.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I was born. I used to sit on the upright piano with my Daddy playing when I was a little girl. I remember watching his foot keep time when he'd play the guitar. My sister and I used to put on variety shows in the living room after watching The Jackie Gleason Show or Sonny and Cher. We would take a lamp and shine it on each other for the spotlight. We were big hams.

Your sound and approach to music: I like to keep it straight-ahead. I love the standards and I respect the composers.

Your dream band:

My dream band would be Anthony Wilson on guitar, Jennifer Leitham on bass, Josh Nelson on piano and Louis Hayes on drums. I'd also like to sing with a big band and I found this really cool one with an all female ensemble. (divajazz.com.

The first Jazz album I bought was: Billy Holiday's Songs for Distant Lovers.

CDs you are listening to now: Ahmad Jamal's Darn That Dream.

How would you describe the state of jazz today? Man, there are so many facets of the jazz genre. It's crazy and fun. I love it all.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Passing it along through the generations.

By Day:

I wait tables in an upscale steak house when I am not singing. Bobby Watson once said to me, "be sure and keep your steady gig." He knows how rough it is out here.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: a dead person.

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