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Take Five With John Tatum

AAJ Staff By

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Meet John Tatum: Went though tutoring at North Texas State University, with Vaughn Roberts, and had a few lessons with JQ Whitcomb of Shanghai. I'm mostly self-taught and using the goal note theory of Shelly Berg. It works!


Trumpet, flueglehorn, guitar, drums.

Teachers and/or influences?

Vaughn and JQ. I love Chris Botti's sweet tone and overall control. Arturo Sandoval, Miles Davis,Clifford Brown and Tom Browne of Jamaican funk fame. Main inspiration: "Feels so Good," by Chuck Mangione.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... My next door neighbor suggested it.

Your sound and approach to music: flowing...and filling the transitional spaces...tone quality smooth and sweet and relaxed. I've got to feel the rhythm and be emphatic.

Your teaching approach: I Would recommend good technique training with Arturo, Arben, Clark and, later, Shelly Berg's goal note theory.

Your dream band:

Bob James on piano; Harvey Mason on drums, and basically Fourplay; ha!

Favorite venue:

Chapel in Park by West Lake.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

"Wedding Song," by Kenny G; hope to use it at many weddings here in China.

The first Jazz album I bought was: Feels So Good- -not sure really—or something by Les McCann.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? I want to be a cultural bridge between west and east.

Did you know...

I once was almost a scratch golfer...about a 4 handicap.

CDs you are listening to now: Chuck Mangione, Chris Botti, Secret Garden.

Desert Island picks: Tom Braxton, Bob James Reformation.

How would you describe the state of jazz today? Not so popular...but smooth jazz is still a bit popular with a certain group of people.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Good programs, good venues and clubs; good teachers to promote jazz.

What is in the near future? Demo CD with Gabrielle and Davide of Shanghai; The Turin Spring tour.

By Day:

English as a Second Language teacher for the past ten years in China.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: PGA golf teacher.

Photo Credit

Courtesy of John Tatum


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