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Mikayla Gilbreath

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Mikayla Gilbreath (17) began playing saxophone in September, 2005, and therefore still considers herself to be a novice. But her progress as a jazz musician has been nothing less than remarkable. Despite her young age and scant experience, she is currently Lead Alto Saxophonist for the nationally recognized "DVHS Performance Jazz Ensemble." The band is widely considered to be one of the best high school jazz bands in America. In August 2008, Mikayla was admitted to Glendale College where she presently studies Saxophone and Jazz Improvisation. Gilbreath's passion for jazz grew from her exposure to the music of Sonny Rollins

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Article: Interview

Clifton Anderson: Leading The Way

Read "Clifton Anderson: Leading The Way" reviewed by Mikayla Gilbreath


Not since the heyday of Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey has the trombone enjoyed widespread acceptance as a band leader's instrument. With only a few exceptions, the last half century has seen trombonists slide from favor as leaders and become more commonly viewed as sidemen. Even genuinely notable artists like J.J. Johnson, Frank Rosolino, ...

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Article: Interview

Russel Blake: Transcending Expectations

Read "Russel Blake: Transcending Expectations" reviewed by Mikayla Gilbreath


Nearly everyone would agree that music is one of the most significant and enduring art forms ever created by mankind, though most people still view it primarily as entertainment. An astute few seem capable of looking beyond music's obvious entertainment value, and among these is bassist Russel Blake. He views music as both a tool for ...

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Article: Interview

Candy Dulfer: Prodigy Turned Pro

Read "Candy Dulfer: Prodigy Turned Pro" reviewed by Mikayla Gilbreath


It's an age-old question--What's the secret of success? For Candy Dulfer, arguably the most commercially successful female saxophonist ever, the answer seems to include first-rate musicianship combined with a healthy dose of stage presence. To those attending their first Candy Dulfer concert, she must seem somewhat of an enigma. When she first takes the stage, tall, ...

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Article: Interview

Nick Colionne: Making a Difference for the Future

Read "Nick Colionne:  Making a Difference for the Future" reviewed by Mikayla Gilbreath


No one likes hearing dire predictions about the imminent demise of jazz as an art form. And yet it's hard to deny that jazz seems at times to be slowly fading into the background. The genre receives relatively scant airplay, and is frequently relegated to little more than footnotes in the annual Grammy awards show. Increasingly, ...

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Article: Interview

Alphonse Mouzon: From Charleston Heights to Bel Air

Read "Alphonse Mouzon:  From Charleston Heights to Bel Air" reviewed by Mikayla Gilbreath


A fleeting glance at the cover of Alphonse Mouzon's CD Jazz in Bel-Air (Tenacious, 2008) gives one the impression that Mouzon was born into wealth, “with a silver spoon in his mouth." Listening to Mouzon's compositions and performance on the CD does nothing to dispel that impression. He delivers a live performance so polished and enjoyable ...

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Article: Interview

Bob Blumenthal: Jazz: An Introduction to the History and Legends Behind America's Music

Read "Bob Blumenthal: Jazz: An Introduction to the History and Legends Behind America's Music" reviewed by Mikayla Gilbreath


Jazz: An Introduction to the History and Legends Behind America's Music Bob Blumenthal Paperback; 192 pages ISBN: 0061241792 HarperCollins 2007 Since 1969, when he first began writing about jazz, Bob Blumenthal has become not only a highly acclaimed writer but also one ...

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Article: Interview

Demetrius "DJ" Turner II: Hope For The Future

Read "Demetrius "DJ" Turner II:  Hope For The Future" reviewed by Mikayla Gilbreath


We've all heard comments about jazz being “the music of old men," and an art form with a questionable future. Then along comes young Demetrius “DJ" Turner II, whose performances have garnered the admiration of thousands, before he's even old enough to drive a car! Jazz enthusiasts lucky enough to hear him play such old school ...

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Article: Interview

Papa John DeFrancesco: It's All In The Name!

Read "Papa John DeFrancesco:  It's All In The Name!" reviewed by Mikayla Gilbreath


A performer's public persona can sometimes be quite different from reality. So when I meet somebody for the first time, there's always the possibility that I'll come away from the meeting feeling surprised, or even disappointed. Well, I needn't have worried about meeting renowned jazz organist Papa John DeFrancesco. The only surprises were pleasant ones.

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Article: Interview

Dr. Lonnie Smith: Organ Guru

Read "Dr. Lonnie Smith:  Organ Guru" reviewed by Mikayla Gilbreath


[Editor's Note: Mikayla's Totally Jazzed is a new column that will feature artist interviews and thoughts on jazz by saxophonist/student Mikayla Gilbreath. Despite her young age, she's managed to connect with a surprising number of well-known musicians, hosting a pre-concert reception at Sonny Rollins' 50th Anniversary Carnegie Hall Concert in 2007 that was attended by artists ...


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