Take Five With Josh Sinton

AAJ Staff BY

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Meet Josh Sinton: Born in western Massachusetts but raised in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, Josh Sinton began playing music in the third grade, starting on piano, trombone and clarinet. He finally convinced his parents to get him an alto saxophone in high school. However,it wasn't until he was twenty-five that he finally came to his senses and acquired a baritone saxophone and bass clarinet.

He studied composition and ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago and then took time off to study with Ari Brown and Ken Vandermark. After several years of working days jobs, he returned to school in 1999 at the New England Conservatory where he studied with Steve Lacy, Ran Blake, Jerry Bergonzi and Dominique Eade. While he is thankful for all that his teachers gave him, he is equally thankful to be out of school.

Josh currently plays with and writes for numerous groups of his own. Among them are holus-Bolus, Ideal Bread and B.utterflies o.f M.eat.

He also plays in Darcy Argue's Secret Society, Heather and the Barbarians, Burnt Sugar, the Industrial Jazz Group, and the electro-acoustic trio Blivton.

Currently Josh lives in Brooklyn with his wife Laura. They hope some day to have enough space for a cat.

Instrument(s): Baritone saxophone and bass clarinet.

Teachers and/or influences? Teachers would include Steve Lacy, Ran Blake, Dominique Eade, Jerry Bergonzi, Hankus Netsky, Allan Chase, Ari Brown, Ken Vandermark, Lloyd King and Howard Sandroff.

Influences are too numerous to mention (but John Surman and Pablo Casals are good starts).

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... ...as a child I saw my dad try to play stride piano at parties.

Your sound and approach to music: Grace, clarity and flexibility.

Your teaching approach: I try to keep students connected to the thing that first made them want to play. To that end, I try to teach them the music and songs that they want to learn. I try to listen to them as best I can.

Your dream band: Jeanne Lee on vocals, D. Boon and Adrian Belew on guitars, Lester Bowie on trumpet, Bela Bartok on piano, and Hamid Drake on drums.

Favorite venue: Brookline tai-chi in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? altogether...all at once because it's the only one I've got.

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

Did you know... I really enjoyed watch the Lawrence Welk show as a child.

How do you use the internet to help your career? I send out e-mails regularly, announcing my upcoming shows. I'll have my improved website up and running soon, and I'll be selling my music directly through that.

CDs you are listening to now: Tim Berne, Fractured Fairytales (Winter & Winter); Ran Blake, All That is Tied (Tompkins Square); Anthony Braxton, Saxophone Improvisations, Series F (Verve); King Crimson, Discipline (Discipline Global Mobile); Coleman Hawkins, The Essential Sides Remastered 1936-39 (JSP).

Desert Island picks: Today it would be: Steve Lacy, The Way (HatHut); Duke Ellington, And His Mother Called Him Bill (RCA Records); Evan Parker, Monoceros (Incus); Bela Bartok, The Complete String Quartets performed by the Bartok Quartet; Charlie Parker, The Complete Verve Master Takes (Verve).

How would you describe the state of jazz today? Healthily fractious, unhealthily dogmatic.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Regular funding of all of its branches and streams of thought.

What is in the near future? Playing regularly with holus-Bolus; Ideal Bread (the band that plays Steve Lacy's music) has a CD coming out on KMB-Jazz in December, 2007; and hopefully seeing Chicago in March, 2008 as a solo artist and with holus-Bolus.

By Day: Currently working at a wine store.

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