- 1.Summer Bliss
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Thank you for visiting my Uptown Jazz Dallas profile! Here are some other places you can find me on the web:
Let me give you a short bio of where I come from.
In The Beginning...
When I was young, my family moved around a lot. I was born in El Paso, but my earliest memories are from Indianapolis, IN. I spent the first five years of my life there until my mom met and married a missionary who became a pastor. From there we moved to La Paz, Bolivia for the next three years. As a child, I was just a sponge soaking up everything from the language to the food. I learned Spanish on accident and was immersed into a foreign culture that became very familiar to me faster than you can blink your eyes.
After Bolivia, we moved back to the US and lived in New Mexico for a year before heading to Houston where my dad found a new church to pastor. By this time, I was in 4th grade and I had been taking piano lessons from my mother for years. But music didn't really grab me until I joined band in 6th grade. My band director told me my embosser was best suited for the trumpet, but I decided right then and there that I wanted to play the saxophone. My parents took me to Mars Music (back in the day!) bought me a Yamaha student model tenor saxophone that was just about as big as I was. The next day I went to school and TOLD my band director that I wasn't playing the trumpet.... "I'm playing the SAXOPHONE!!"
A few months later, after learning how to make some sounds and finger different notes, I started private lessons with one of the best players in Houston who just happened to live in my neighborhood: Martin Langford. He showed me the ropes and taught me everything he could which really pushed me farther than I could have gone on my own. Martin was my biggest influence as a musician until I went off to college. I started playing at my fathers church (partially because Mom was the music director) within 6 months of learning how to play the horn. It started out with just a few songs that we had worked out parts to, but I soon started hearing things I could play over some of the other songs. I started playing everything I could hear which helped me develop my ear more than anything else.
In High School...
By the time I got to high school, I had discovered jazz and improvisation in my private lessons. It took what I was doing at church to another level. I attended Lamar High School for three years. They required us to do marching band if we wanted to play in the jazz band, so I did... hated marching band though. Way too much work and most of it is centered around marching, not the music. Our jazz band was pretty good though! By my Junior year, we were going to all the competitions and placing first under the direction of Eli Smith! But I still felt like I wasn't growing musically and needed more.
My senior year, I decided to switch high schools to a performing are school called HSPVA (High School for the Performing and Visual Arts). This was a very different environment. Everybody at the school had to audition to get in on their respective arts. The jazz band was (and still is) directed by Warren Sneed who got them sounding awesome! A lot of amazing players come out of that school including Robert Glasper, Mike Moreno, Walter Smith III, Eric Harland, Chris Walker, Chris Dave, Kendrick Scott, Jamire Williams, Jason Moran, Shelley Carrol, Everette Harp, Andre Hayward, Brandon Lee and many more! Granted, I didn't know many of those players at the time, but I did know what the school had a great reputation for developing creative minds. My senior year helped get me ready to pursue music in college.
The College Years...
I went to the University of North Texas for two reasons: 1.) It has the longest running Jazz Studies program that is still ranked #1 in the nation and 2.) As a Texas resident, I received in-state tuition which is hard to beat. There were over a hundred saxophone students trying out for lab bands that first semester. I didn't make one :( But that didn't stop me. It gave me a determination to work harder and pushed me to practice more than I ever had before. That school really does weed out players. By the second year, half of my class had dropped Jazz Studies as their major. Thinking back on it, maybe they were the smart ones, haha!
For me, it was a personal challenge that I knew would be incredibly hard to achieve, which just made me want it even more. By my last year, I had played and recorded with the 2 O'Clock Lab Band and Jazz Singers I, started my network of musicians that has proven to be invaluable after school, and traveled to Chicago, California, Oklahoma, Florida, Kentucky, Alaska, and Canada playing music.
Now that I have graduated, I'm looking to further my musical career in any and every way possible. If I'm available, I will play with anybody who calls me. I feel like any opportunity to play, even if it isn't my favorite style to play, will make me a better musician. You can learn from any situation if you want to. I play with a few different cover bands including Time Machine, The Walten Stout Band, and Downtown Fever and I have learned how to put on a good show that people enjoy watching. But we are always playing covers in those bands. Where I think music can really develop is playing original material. Even if I didn't write it, if I have a chance to play with a band performing original music, I can feel a difference in the execution and [usually] the audience responds better. Right now I'm really excited about two groups in particular:
1.) Bastard Sons of Skoalfield (funk/fusion) www.facebook.com/BSofS
2.) RSVP (hip hop meets fusion) www.facebook.com/rsvpart
Be on the lookout for these groups because they are doing big things!
If you read down my bio this far, I want to take this chance to say THANKS AGAIN! Please leave me a comment, check out my other pages, and come back to visit me again soon!
Love & Peace,
Other places you can find me on the web:
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Hey man, thanks a lot for checking out my music!! We will play soon for sure!
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