I learned a lot in 2014. In February, I released “Battle Mountain,” my first record with my own band. It was incredible to make music in my home state of California with my best friends – I’ll never forget it. Thanks to everyone for believing in my music!
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate with cdza throughout the year, performing and recording around the world! We hit the slots in Vegas, performed in the English countryside, and shared the stage with Snoop Dogg and T-Pain. But the highlight was making a “History of the Saxophone” video for their Instrumentals series, which you can check out here if you haven’t seen it. It was one of the most challenging, yet rewarding musical projects I’ve ever been a part of; hope you learned a little something about my favorite instrument and had a good laugh too. I still rock my Kenny G wig occasionally, so be on the lookout.
Through experiences teaching at the Stanford Jazz Workshop and Nueva Summer Music in CA, the Calhoun School in NYC, and through Jazz at Lincoln Center’s educational programs, I’ve developed a love for teaching. I learn as much in the classroom as I do on the bandstand, and I’m constantly inspired by my students. Many thanks to all my friends continue to help me nurture this love.
I brought my band to the Stanford Jazz Festival, the San Jose Jazz Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the Earshot Jazz Festival. I was also a guest artist/educator for SFJAZZ for their Discover Jazz Series. I owe so much to everyone who works with these vital organizations to bring music to new generations. I along with so many of my peers wouldn’t be here without you!
Our world is complicated and constantly evolving. Technology, wars, conflict, and political strife dominate the news. But we have music. Music heals us in hard times. Music makes us dance, it makes us smile. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to play my saxophone everyday. My goal for the new year is to find new ways to use music to make people happy and bring us together as one. I urge all of you to find a way to use your ideas, your words, your skills, and your talents to help make this world a better place. It’s up to us to stand up for what we believe in and make positive change. Now is the time. Let’s get to it.
Love to you all for helping make this year musical, joyful, and unforgettable.
All the best and Happy 2015,