Stephen “Doc” Kupka is best known as the foundation of the horn section for Tower of Power, having performed on Baritone Sax with them for 50 years and running.Ever since co-writing “You’re Still a Young Man,” he really has enjoyed songwriting. He wanted to showcase the many songs he has written over the years, so he established Strokeland Records in 1998.Doc’s longevity with performing and songwriting is truly Continue Reading …
Miguel Zenon is an alto saxophonist, composer, and band leader hailing from Puerto Rico. Miguel has been featured on over 70 recordings as a sideman and is about to release his 11th album under his own name. Miguel is a multiple Grammy Nominee and is also a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship also known as the genius grant. Miguel lives in New York and also teaches at the famous New England Conservatory.
We caught up with Miguel to talk about his new recording set to come out on September 21st entitled, Yo Soy La Tradicion. We also managed to talk about his move to the United States, his development as a composer and saxophonist over the years and what he does to maintain his high level of playing through a busy schedule. We also chatted about teaching advanced students and asked him our famous five questions. I think you’re going to really enjoy this interview so sit back, relax, and let’s get into it with Miguel Zenon!
In this interview:
- The concept and execution of Yo Soy La Tradicion.
- The challenges and rewards of writing for string quartet.
- The overwhelming presence of Puerto Rican traditional music in Miguel’s compositions.
- The evolution of Miguel’s saxophone playing and composing process.
- What it’s like teaching students who are extremely advanced.
- The most important aspect of being a saxophonist in Miguel’s opinion.
- The wet-dry cycle: how and why it wears down reeds and what you can do about it
- Why humidifying reeds is not enough
- The research behind ReedJuvinate and why it works
- Why you MUST use original Listerine and not any other flavor
- How long it takes a reed to get acclimated when you are playing
- and much more…
Adam Larson is quickly becoming one of the most recognized names in the jazz world. Adam hails from Normal, IL and now lives, teaches, and performs in the New York City area. Adam has four albums as a leader and his latest album, Second City, received a four star rating in Downbeat and was listed as one of the best recordings of 2017. Adam is endorsed by P. Mauriat Saxophones and Vandoren.
His prowess on the saxophone and his work in education have impacted listeners and students from across the world. Adam is doing big things both on the playing side and he is getting ready to release his first etude book called Leaps and Sounds at the end of the month.Continue Reading …
Sean is currently a candidate for a DMA from the University of North Texas. We used this interview as an opportunity to talk about the process of receiving a terminal degree in music and what that does for your chances of teaching in higher education after completing your degree. Sean has insight intoContinue Reading …
Recently named by Elmore Magazine as one of the top six killer artists you need to hear right now, Bobby started his musical career in Oakland but now calls Los Angeles home.
He cut his teeth in the Chitlin’ Circuit of the Bay Area, anchored dead center in the horn section of the funk bands of Johnny Tolbert andContinue Reading …
Cory Weeds is a saxophonist, label owner, and one of Canada’s hardest working musicians. He studied saxophone at North Texas and has been making waves in the music industry ever since. He has performed with the likes of Mike Ledonne, Christian McBride, Joe Farnsworth, Peter Bernstein, and Joey DeFrancesco. He was was the owner of the now defunct, Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver. There, he made it a point to feature the unsung heroes of the jazz world and has produced many great recordings from this space.
Cory is also employed full time by Coastal Jazz & Blues where he serves as programming manager for clubs and festivals.
Weeds is someone who does it all and we can all learn a lot about making a living as a musician from him. In this day and age where we all need to be multi faceted just to make it in this business, Weeds is a shining example of someone who is on top of the music world and an inspiration to so many of us.
In this episode we discuss:
- Seeing the world from the perspective of a club owner and musician at the same time.
- How Cory balances all of the things going on in his life and still makes time for the saxophone.
- What it was like to study at the famous University of North Texas.
- Why he is passionate about running his own label and what keeps him putting out music.
- What inspired him do an entire tribute album to the great Jackie Mclean.
- What the jazz scene is like in Canada and what keeps him there.
- His new Record Explosion with his little big band.