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Instrument(s): alto, tenor and soprano saxophone, flute, piano, bass, drums.
Teachers and/or influences? I started sax lessons at Leeward Comm. College in Hawaii with Floyd Uchima and Bill Noble. At the Berklee School of Music in Boston, I studied with Bill Thompson and the great Joe Viola.
Charlie Parker was my first real influence. His lines and music had the purity and musicality very much like Bach. His lines made so much sense logically but with the great feeling added to it. Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane were two other musical giants I've put time into studying. Rollins and other saxophone players like Lee Konitz and Cannonball Adderley were not only virtuosic saxophonists but constantly reinvented their lines and phrases.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I saw how the audience was moved emotionally and spiritually by performers. That was for me.
Your sound and approach to music: Music not only has to sound good but it has to feel good to all your senses. My goal in writing and playing is to have cohesive melodic and harmonic relationships to the rhythm and to filter out excesses or the nonessential tones that detract from the point. The greatest examples have been musicians like Stan Getz, Toots Thielemans, Bill Evans, Ben Webster, Miles Davis and so on.....
Your teaching approach: Music is a temporary physical event when the sound vibrations pass through the air and is perceived by the listener. Anything that leads up to that event (e.g. how you vibrate a reed or the touch of a piano and preparation involved, musical arrangements) comes into careful consideration. Since the sax is a wind instrument the most important thing to prepare physically is your lung power. Running, walking and weight training are essential as well as practicing long tones.
Flexibility is also essential so stretching or yoga exercises help a lot to keep muscles limber and tension free.
Favorite venue: The Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz
Your favorite recording in your discography and why? "Rejoicing from One Day. I envisioned a tune that had the energy and feeling of Earth, Wind and Fire or Pat Metheny Group. This tune seems to do accomplish that.
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? I represent just my point of view, that is not to say that it is any better or worse than anybody else. But it comes from me, and it would just be an honor to contribute to the great catalog of music of the world.
How do you use the internet to help your career? At www.hawaiianjazz.com there are links to my charts on Sibelius music, and links to purchase CDs.
CDs you are listening to now: Sammy Nestico, This is the Moment, (Fenwood Music Inc.) Tom Harrell, The Art of Rhythm (RCA Victor) Kenny Barron and Charlie Haden, Night and the City (Verve) Valery Ponomarev, Trip to Moscow (Reservoir)
Desert Island picks: Sonny Rollins, The Bridge (RCA) Miles Davis, Milestones (Columbia) Charlie Parker, Charlie Parker With Strings (Verve) Charlie Haden, Nocturnes (Verve) Toots Thielemans, The Brazil Project (Private Music)
How would you describe the state of jazz today? The world is flourishing with many good and well trained musicians. Unfortunately the marketplace is very small. Big money will always back the McPhoneys and instant stars on the you-know-which show because they create fast returns on the mega dollars invested. The sad thing about it is that most of the music is like fast food. Very tasty at first because of all the sugar and animal fat but in the end you suffer from it because it is an insubstantial diet.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Hire live music and destroy karaoke.
What is in the near future? Jazz quartet with tenor sax, guitar, bass and drums. I have been putting together a big band repertoire of original music and will record it soon.
By Day: I teach when ever I can. I have recording facilities and do arrangements and production for different clients.