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Saxophonist, flutist, and educator Sharel Cassity is a standout in New York and Chicago jazz circles. Named the 2023 “Rising Star Alto Saxophone” and featured on Downbeat Magazine’s cover, she’s graced TV shows like Today, Good Morning America, and The Colbert Show. Honored in the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, Sharel has also received the ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award.

Sharel has collaborated with Grammy winners like Jennifer Hudson, Natalie Merchant, and Aretha Franklin, plus artists like Vanessa Williams and Ruben Blades. In jazz, she’s shared the stage with legends like Herbie Hancock and Wynton Marsalis, and even performed with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. As a bandleader, her albums have earned rave reviews from top publications and led to exciting collaborations like Altoizm, Precarious Towers, and her upcoming project, Alliance.

Sharel is passionate about jazz education, founding the non-profit program “Jazz Up!” to bring live jazz experiences to suburban students unable to access them otherwise. As a jazz professor at DePaul University and Elgin Community College in Chicago, she’s dedicated to nurturing the next generation of musicians. Keep an eye out for their upcoming event, the Summer Combo Intensive, scheduled for June 17-22, 2024!

Sharel proudly represents Yamaha and Vandoren as a Performing Artist, exclusively utilizing Yamaha instruments and Vandoren equipment. Additionally, she joins in celebrating Vandoren’s 20-year anniversary.

Her latest album, “ALLIANCE,” released on Shifting Paradigm Records on March 15, is now available on all platforms!

In this episode, we talked about:

  • The special reason Sharel attended NAMM this year
  • Angry Birds…(watch to see what I mean 😉 )
  • Sharel’s tips to help improvisers feel confident to take solos
  • Cassity’s new album, Alliance, featuring an all-women quartet
  • Jazz Up Institute Summer Camp & how it mentors students to survive in the real world

“Some of my favorite artists and mentors were the best teachers”
– Sharel Cassity

Here’s the video:



1. Sharel Cassity’s Website:
2. Jazz Up Website:
3. Sharel’s Facebook:
4. Sharel’s Instagram:
5. Sharel’s Everything Saxophone Podcast EP23:


This episode was proudly sponsored by Rovner Products, creators of fine ligatures for saxophone and clarinet for almost 50 years.

If you perform in Rock, Blues, Marching Band, Military ensembles, and are tired of getting drowned out by all the other instruments, you need to try Rovner’s latest offering, the LGX Ligature. Pure power without losing the quality of your tone. Just go to for more info and to purchase.

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