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When I was younger I had to show my music friends the Jazz Basics so I could have my first few jazz bands. My father who was a Jazz Drummer had jam sessions in the basement. He also had quite a Jazz collection of recordings and when I was young I would come home from the Parties, Clubs, Disco and other social hang outs for the young of my time and play a compilation of Jazz recordings I had put on cassette tape to chill out from the young life in NYC. I say that jazz picked me because I eventually became the one in my area providing the Learning,Teaching, Jamming and Recording environment for the young and older players to continue the music in spite of what was popular at the time. This is not the pop music of the young of this time either but still and always will be an attraction to the young and older musician with a learning "Creative Mind" .That's why we also have later in life beginners as well as younger ones. For me jazz is truly a musicians music that allows not only total personal expression but great artistry as well. When and why did you start playing Jazz?
 

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I had no choice. For some reason I could guess at, but probably never fully explain, I have a compulsion to express my feelings through music and I've found jazz to be the best vehicle for doing that. Once I heard the beautiful sounds being transmitted by the station my radio was constantly tuned to in those days (WDCU Jazz 90), I was hooked for life.

I was playing electric bass in my first rock band at the time, but gradually I came more strongly under the spell of jazz until I found myself playing bass in the jazz ensemble at my college, blowing what little disposable income I managed to scrape together on CD's by artists like Miles, Mingus, and Sonny Rollins and struggling mightily to make sense of the haphazard jazz theory materials I managed to get my hands on in the pre-Internet days of the early nineties.

When I was finally forced to give up stringed instruments for health reasons, I knew I had to find a way to fulfill my lifelong ambition to learn to play jazz saxophone in the time I have left. In a weird way, it feels like my destiny to do this, for better or worse.
 

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For me jazz is truly a musicians music that allows not only total personal expression but great artistry as well. When and why did you start playing Jazz?
I'll answer this the other way round. I did start playing jazz because I think it is a musician's music. But then I gave it up, I think for the same reason - in other words I questioned whether I want to play musician's music and wondered whether I should broaden my horizons. You might think I would say that because I wasn't that good at it - fair point.

But I think what turned me into more of a a blues/rock musician was more a feeling that that at the time jazz was being judged at that time more on the technical dexterity involved rather than the lyrical inveniveness or emotional content. I heard players like Lee Allen and realised they were saying as much with fewer notes , and that is just as difficult and (for me) artistically challenging.
 

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As a kid growing up in the 80's, I started saxophone honestly to be in a band. Saxophone was everywhere in the Radio, TV Theme Music, and SNL Band was ripping. I played in the Jazz Ensemble at school but was much more attracted to Funky Brecker stuff and much less straight-ahead jazz as it seemed like old people music.

Fast forward 30 years, I stopped all the commercial gigs and have focused solely on Jazz playing listening the the classics from the 50's and 60's. I took the scenic route to Jazz but now REALLY get-it - not so much as a kid.
 

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I also played the Funk, R&B, Soul, Pop music because it was fun for a while and got paid for basically playing a few supporting horn lines here and there with occasional solos behind singers. But after all the hours I put into Saxophone I didn't enjoy watching the rest of the band play the whole repertoire as I waited to play. I did the doubling on synth, percussion,tambourine, triangle, maracas you name it, all while my sax was on the sax stand. That's the reason I said Jazz is the music for me. Many jazz bands and composers have the horns play the whole melody and Solos, and if you're good enough a band will back you as the main attraction. That's why I like jazz. It's just my personal feelings about the music. I'm not knocking anyone's experience... It's all good and contributing to hear what Jazz means to other musicians
 

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Pretty much the first music I learned was 60s NY club date music which while not bop had lots of swing elements and inside solos. I had a cabaret license with a fake ID and was gigging in clubs by 16. Private parties even earlier.

I was drawn to the piano to function as a music major. I sought out jazz as well as other serious musical styles while playing organ and sax in rock and blues bands in college - LIU Brooklyn '71. But things changed radically when I moved to Boston in the early 70s. The working musicians were all great jazz players. I made the move away from sax to piano as my primary instrument.
 

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I was playing classical music only and on the flute (no sax) with a guitarist.
Then I went to Hungry Joe's in Huntington Beach in the early 70s.
Dave Pike, Luther Hughes, Ron Eschete, Tom Ranier and Ted Hawke were playing jazz there.
It was a fusion of straight ahead, latin, funk you name it.
It turned my head around.
I started from scratch by taking up bari and playing in the jazz band at Citrus Junior college.
 

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Even when I was young, I could listen to all different types of music. Absolutely every genre and appreciate something about it.When i started playing saxophone as a young teenager I wanted to listen to as much sax as i could. I started with classical because that's what I was learning but quickly expanded out to jazz and other genres, anything with a sax somewhere in it. When i started high school we had an opportunity to join the school's jazz band. This was my first real opportunity to play jazz. We had an awesome jazz band director who is an still an amazing local performing musician (trumpet player) who exposed us to so much great music and listening and always made jazz band a blast. Thats where my love of jazz started. I continued onto college for music (first time around) and was part of my college's jazz band and started performing as well. Although i appreciate classical performance, when I get to pick, jazz will always be where my heart is at.
 

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Actually Sonny Rollins was the guy that saved me/made me really love the horn. I started in Marching band like many kids, but I was then more interested in things like " Dire strait-your latest trick" and that kind of music. I was born in the 80's so that was the music that I discovered the sax with. I am not going to lie I just wanted to impress chicks then. By the mid 90's I was kinda getting tired of playing the same as every other kid and I hated the music we were playing as well. I was born in Cuba but to be fair never liked salsa and we didn't have many other options over there then. Long story!!! I decided to tell the band director that I wanted to quit. On my way from his place my father stopped to greet a musician friend of his. He was playing a Sonny's tape(back then) called something like "Live in Stockholm" or Sonny in Stockholm. I am not sure, I didn't speak English back then so.... I just know that when I heard that , just asked Who's that guy???? I didn't even know what a chord change was back then, but I just could hear that the background was moving together with all the things he was doing in the front. Opposite to just the random millions notes I was used to hear. I just knew I wanted to do that. My father's friend recorded a copy for me (On the tape recorder :) ) and that was my very first jazz album. Then I discovered , Joshua Redman, Dexter.....
 

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When I was about 15 I started sax lessons - the typical classically-oriented Rubank scales and arpeggios program that was pretty standard in the public schools. Then one day I went shopping at a department store with my father, and while he was shopping for whatever, I happened upon the bargain bin in the record section. And sitting in that bargain was an album with a photo of some guy named Gerry Mulligan on the cover holding a big sax. And as it cost only $0.50, I thought it might be worth buying, just to hear someone play the sax properly. And when I got home and played it, I was blown away. I'm not sure I even knew it was called jazz. But after that I taught myself a minor pentatonic scale in a couple of keys (about the only "jazzy" thing I could hear at the time) so I could jam with my cousin who had just taken up guitar. It was pretty lame, but it set me on a path towards jazz for the rest of my life. And I still really dig Gerry Mulligan.
 

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At age 15 or so, I discovered Dixieland jazz and left the world of rhythm and blues, which was THE music for us teenagers in the mid 1950's. I did not play an instrument. I heard two soprano saxophones at a local concert when I was 16 and decided that soprano saxophone was THE instrument. Some 60+ years later, here I am. Nothing but trad jazz for me. DAVE
 

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I'll answer this the other way round. I did start playing jazz because I think it is a musician's music. But then I gave it up, I think for the same reason - in other words I questioned whether I want to play musician's music and wondered whether I should broaden my horizons. You might think I would say that because I wasn't that good at it - fair point.

But I think what turned me into more of a a blues/rock musician was more a feeling that that at the time jazz was being judged at that time more on the technical dexterity involved rather than the lyrical inveniveness or emotional content. I heard players like Lee Allen and realised they were saying as much with fewer notes , and that is just as difficult and (for me) artistically challenging.
Thanks for saying that, Pete. I don't play jazz. What picked me was those sax solos on early rock records – Lee Allen, Plas Johnson, Gil Bernal, Steve Douglas, "Daddy G" Gene Barge, then later Junior Walker and others. My dad was a huge jazz fan. He'd play his 78's of Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Tram Bix & Lang, Bob Crosby, then LPs of Benny Goodman, Basie, and Ellington. But jazz to him ended by the late 60's/early 70's. He couldn't understand modern jazz and fusion as jazz. As a young sax player of 15 or so, I studied Charlie Parker and Coltrane. Later I listened to Miles, then Weather Report and on into the world of Brecker and so forth. But I never got into jazz for what it was. I tried but it just doesn't grab me. What does grab me to this day is a rock or blues or R&B sax solo that is full of emotion. I could never connect with what those jazz musicians were saying with their outside playing over abstract changes. But I can hear a world of meaning, a ton of communication, in a rock or blues or funk sax solo. And that's what I want to say to my audience when I'm soloing – hear what I'm saying to you and feel the feeling. I want you to yell or dance or get down and into the music with me. Jazz just does not do that for me ... or for most of the people I know and who are in the clubs where live music is performed.
 

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As a young person, I had nothing but Top 40 radio to listen to. However, I was always most drawn to the songs which had some jazz elements--things by Billy Joel, Maynard Ferguson, and also a Syro Gyra 8-track tape I found used at a garage sale. I love classical music too, but in my later years, the gift of an old sax gave me the chance to explore the sweet sound of jazz, and now I'm hooked.
 

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I started playing clarinet at the age of 9 - it was just a thing to do, and only mildly interesting. I did it, but it wasn't my main focus in life. I had actually asked to play trumpet, but my parents (who both loved Benny Goodman) were not happy with that idea!

When I went to Jr. High, at the age of 12, I got a clock radio with an alarm, and I would go to sleep listening to KJAZ. One day I heard a record of some guy named Cannonball, so I went to the store and bought "Them Dirty Blues". About the same time, my dad had bought a record called "Hoagy Sings Carmichael", which had a small big band behind Hoagy with arrangements by Marty Paich and featuring solos by Art Pepper. I started pestering my parents for a saxophone.... and got one, a rent-to-own Holton that I played for the next 5 or 6 years. I still played clarinet, and studied it pretty seriously, but I spent way more time on the sax.

I guess it got thru to my parents, because as a high school graduation gift, my dad took me down to House of Woodwinds (I was a regular there by this time...) and bought me a brand new Mark VI alto. I have never looked back.
 

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I love Jazz but like others I really enjoy playing more popular genres as well. I'm not married to Jazz or any specific genre but I simply love playing music. I guess I technically play more Smooth Jazz than anything else but I certainly don't go into it saying I'm going this specific style.
 

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Wow, so I have to travel back to about 1964. I had my choice between my older sister's rock & roll collection or my dad's jazz collection. I liked them both, but from a musicians standpoint jazz won out. Of course the rockers all played guitar and I had one of those first, but the action was so high it actually hurt to play it! So, that lasted about six months. Anyway, even at a young age though I could tell that the jazz musicians were superior musicians and I gravitated more and more to the jazz genre. I got a clarinet at 12, an alto sax at 14 and here we are 50 years later. Who knows, if I had a guitar that was playable I might have become a rock star. :)
 

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I play in several contract bands that play nothing but moldy figs but only because the pay is decent, otherwise I'm a great admirer of the many greats and young lions out there but its never been my main draw. I'm most comfortable calling myself a funk or rock player.
 
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