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Wendy Jones

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About Me

My Jazz Story

I loved jazz at first because it just felt GOOD. I loved listening to big bands and the guys in the Tonight Show Orchestra were my heroes. Tommy Newsome was some kind of superhero to me as a child. "Who WAS this man who played sax, and clarinet, and flute and could conduct the band??!!" Genius!!! I loved that band so much and stayed up late to hear them. Because of Tommy I wanted to play sax but in 7th grade, the band rep told me that "girls didn't play saxophone" so I played flute. I ended up playing in orchestra and going to collage as a classical voice major. After my masters, I found my way back to jazz and started to study in earnest. Spent a lot of time post graduate work seeking out instruction on jazz: from Jamey Aebersold, the summer vocal program at UNT, the New York Voices summer workshops as well as online instruction in piano, arranging, and songwriting with educators such as Michele Weir, Jeremy Fox, Darmon Meader, Lauren Kinhan, Peter Eldridge and Justin Binek I've met Dee Bridgewater, Harold Danko, Jon Clayton, Tierney Sutton, the New York Voices, Carmen Bradford, Randy Brecker, Bria Skonberg, Bobby Shew, and Doc Severinson. The best show I ever attended was Dee Dee Bridgewater's main stage performance at Newport Jazz Festival in 2019. Actually, that performance is a tie with Cecile McLorin Salvant's performance at the same festival. Both fantastic and moving artists and completely different. I just can't pick a fav. (But then there are the Bobby McFerrin, Chick Corea, and Diana Krall concerts that also stand out in my memory as musical highlights!) The first jazz recording I bought was a 'BEST OF' collection of songs sung by Ella Fitzgerald...it was a GREATEST HITS type of thing. The next CD I purchased was Sarah Vaughan's CRAZY AND MIXED UP. those CDs certainly put me on a good path at the beginning of my jazz journey. I, of course, listened to a LOT of singers but then discovered HORACE SILVER and DUKE ELLINGTON and went down a rabbit hole. Couldn't get enough of those two! Later, I discovered Sonny Stitt, Stan Getz, and Sonny Rollins and listened to them a lot as well as Chet Baker, Chick Corea, Buddy Rich Bid Band, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, and Herbie Hancock. My advice for jazz newbies is: it's never to late to learn jazz. Listen as much as you can. Practice as much as you can. Seek out good instructors...and have patience. If you practice and you listen a LOT, it will come. If you are like most of us, it won't come over night so try to be patient and gentle with yourself and the process.

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