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Take Five With Jason Hammers

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Meet Jason Hammers:

Originally from Gaithersburg, MD, Jason Hammers grew up in Stafford, VA where began his musical journey on the alto saxophone at age 11. While a student at Stafford Senior High School, he was named to numerous All-County and All-District Bands and had established himself as a featured soloist with the school's jazz ensemble.



Upon graduating high school, Jason matriculated to Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA to continue his musical education. It was during his freshman year that the tenor saxophone became his main instrument. As a member of the CNU Jazz Ensemble, he performed at the Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
1917 - 1996
vocalist
Jazz Festival from 2007-2009, performing with Kurt Elling
Kurt Elling
Kurt Elling
b.1967
vocalist
, Steve Zegree, The New York Voices
New York Voices
New York Voices

band/orchestra
, Kenny Garrett
Kenny Garrett
Kenny Garrett
b.1960
sax, alto
, and Dave Douglas
Dave Douglas
Dave Douglas
b.1963
trumpet
. In his senior year, Jason was a member of the CNU Jazz Combo I, that was selected to perform at the 2009 North Texas Jazz Festival and earned an Outstanding Soloist Award. In 2009, Jason graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.Mus. degree with concentrations in Classical and Jazz Performance.



In the same year, Jason was accepted in the Masters of Music program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he was a student of Ben Schachter

Ben Schachter
Ben Schachter
b.1962
sax, tenor
. He completed the program in 2010, writing his thesis titled "The Comeback: Frank Foster
Frank Foster
Frank Foster
1928 - 2011
saxophone
's Impact on the Count Basie
Count Basie
Count Basie
1904 - 1984
piano
Orchestra."

He is currently a freelance performer, composer, and educator in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Instrument(s):

Saxophone, flute, clarinet.

Teachers and/or influences? Influences include, in no particular order: Antonio Hart

Antonio Hart
Antonio Hart
b.1968
saxophone
, Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
, Bob Mintzer
Bob Mintzer
Bob Mintzer
b.1953
saxophone
, Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau
b.1970
piano
, Joel Frahm
Joel Frahm
Joel Frahm

sax, tenor
, Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
, Dave Douglas, Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
1923 - 1990
sax, tenor
, Duke Ellington, Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
b.1952
saxophone
, Horace Silver
Horace Silver
Horace Silver
1928 - 2014
piano
, John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
, Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
b.1945
piano
, Roy Hargrove
Roy Hargrove
Roy Hargrove
b.1969
trumpet
, Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
b.1933
saxophone
, and many more than I don't have time to list.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I watched the 2002 Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
Saxophone Competition
. I had never heard the saxophone like that before. It blew me away, and I realized that music was going to be a big part of my life.

Your sound and approach to music: I try to be honest about who I am as both a person, and an artist.

Your dream band:

My dream band would be McCoy Tyner
McCoy Tyner
McCoy Tyner
b.1938
piano
on piano, Christian McBride
Christian McBride
Christian McBride
b.1972
bass
on bass and Antonio Sanchez
Antonio Sanchez
Antonio Sanchez
b.1971
drums
on drums.

The first Jazz album I bought was: John Coltrane's Blue Train.

Did you know...

When I first went to college, I was an Environmental Science major.

CDs you are listening to now: Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck
1920 - 2012
piano
, Buried Treasures;

The Moody Blues, A Question of Balance;

Michael Brecker
Michael Brecker
Michael Brecker
1949 - 2007
sax, tenor
, Tales From the Hudson;

Roy Hargrove, Diamond in the Rough;

R.E.M, Out of Time.

Desert Island picks: Dexter Gordon, Go;

Joe Lovano, Symphonica;

Art Blakey
Art Blakey
Art Blakey
1919 - 1990
drums
and the Jazz Messengers, Free For All;

Jethro Tull, Aqualung;

Led Zeppelin, IV.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? As long as people enjoy being around and interacting with others, I think jazz will still have a place in the future of American music.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: marine biologist, saving the planet one whale at a time.

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