Take Five With Billy Carrion, Jr.

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Meet Billy Carrion Jr:

Billy Carrion Jr started on the alto saxophone at 9 years old. Music of all kinds was always playing at Billy's home by his salsa singing father, who has an amazing career of his own. After being taught how to read, write, and make a sound out of the horn, Billy Jr took music into his own hands at age 14, when his high school band director opened the instrument closet and asked if Billy would play baritone sax for marching band because there were no bass instruments (tubas or anyone that played bass)... little did the band director know; it would start the chain reaction that has led Billy Jr to his budding career.

As a side man, Billy has been honored to perform and record with such legendary and upcoming musicians such as Eddie Palmieri, Ray Barretto, Papo Vazquez, United Nation, (rock group) Tom Vella And The Wayside, Joe Magnerelli, Brian Lynch, Kokolo Afro- beat Orchestra, John Benitez, Paoli Mejias to name a few. Billy Jr. continues to play as a sideman, but has now stepped in to the frontman position with his upcoming debut album...


baritone saxophone, all other saxophones, flutes, clarinets, percussion, electric bass

Teachers and/or influences?

Influences can come from anything for me, musical or not. In terms of music that moves me: I find something in everything; but some of my favorites include Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett, The Doors, post-bop Miles Davis, late John Coltrane, System Of A Down, Weather Report, Glenn Gould, Jaco Pastorius, Bach, Frank Zappa, any Ray Barretto album; the list is ongoing.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I can't remember that moment at all. But every time an instrument is in my hands I know in my heart and soul that music is what I was born to do.

Your sound and approach to music:

I really didn't listen to anyone on my instrument for sound; I just sat and played until it felt right. And thats kind of my approach to music; if it feels right, it is. I'm also sure that listening to all the different music sub-consciously helped with the development.

Your dream band:

I would love to work with anybody, anywhere, anytime. Not because I'm desperate or anything, but because I love being a spec in this ongoing and evolving universe we call music. But a dream band....Well, Jaco on bass, Giovanni Hildago on percussion, Keith Jarrett on keyboard/piano, and Elvin Jones on Drums... man that'd be sick...

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Well my dad already had a bunch, but the earliest one I can remember walking into a store and buying myself was Charlie Parker: Bird with Strings, The Master Takes.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

My sound, and willingness to play in any fathom of music.

Did you know...

I am absolutely obsessed with the original Transformers Cartoon.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

I think its a si.

Post a comment


Shop Amazon


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.