My parents bought
my first saxophone for $200 from a college student in 1982 just before I
started my sixth-grade year in school. Another $200 later the horn
was in playing condition and I started serenading my parents with the
wonderful sounds of a beginning band student. I played all the way
through junior high and high school as a member of the concert band,
marching band, and jazz band. I was almost always the 1st-chair
player which isn't saying much considering I came from a small 2A/3A
school in a town with a population of around 800. I participated and
placed in All-District and All-Region band competitions, UIL music competitions, and music festivals. I received the
Outstanding Jazz Band Member award, Outstanding High School Band Student award,
Outstanding Yellowjacket Band Student award, and the Marines' Semper Fidelis
award for Musical Excellence by the time I graduated from high school in 1990.
I went in search of a college education and expected to pay at
least part of my way with a music scholarship. I thought I was pretty hot
stuff at the time and auditioned for a scholarship at the University of North
Texas in Denton, known for their music programs. I was basically told,
"good job little man but you are out of your league if you think you're going to
get a music scholarship from us." It also didn't help that I didn't plan
on being a music major. I auditioned for several other colleges including
Texas Wesleyan, the University of Texas in Arlington, and
Navarro College in
Corsicana. I settled on Navarro College in Corsicana because they offered
a fairly good scholarship without requiring me to be a music major.
Navarro College I majored in computer science and participated in concert
band, marching band, jazz band, wind ensemble, and took private lessons.
The private lessons and stiff competition from a couple of other sax players
was just what I needed to start fine tuning my skills. At this point
I was still playing on the $200 saxophone my parents bought for me when I first
started sixth-grade band. I kept losing out to another sax player in chair
competitions and was informed it was time to upgrade my sax. I found
the right horn at the right price and started winning the competitions.
at Navarro I placed in the Texas Junior College All-State Concert Band
every year. I toured with the jazz band and played at many various functions
with other performing groups. For awhile, some of the band members
formed a Dixieland band which later led to me playing with the Lower Beaton Street
Dixieland Band made up of many veteran performers whom I was very honored to
be asked to play with. The college jazz band got to open for the
Miller Orchestra one year, and I played in the pit orchestras for high school,
college, and professional musicals in the area. I started picking up other
instruments such as the clarinet, flute, bass, keyboard and drums and performing
in groups with them.
After graduating from Navarro with an Associates
Degree in Applied Science in 1993, I earned a music scholarship to the
of Texas in Tyler. Again, I picked this college because of the good
music scholarship that didn't require me to be a music major. I performed
in both the concert band and jazz band. The jazz band was under the
direction of George Faber whom I have a lot of respect for as a musician.
Through the jazz band and George Faber, I had the privilege of meeting and performing
with saxophonist Joeseph Vincelli on several occasions as well as other
talented veteran musicians. At this point, I started venturing out to the
local open mic gigs in the area. I considered myself a seasoned musician
by this time, but I had little to no experience performing popular music in clubs.
and the Starving Artist Band who was hosting most of the open mics in town.
This was another opportunity to learn another aspect of musical performance and
one that I really took a liking to.
The open mic gigs led to many other
opportunities. I started playing with Tim Wheeler and the Soul Shufflers
on the weekends which led to me playing with the Gutter Brothers for several
years as the house band at a local club called Marshall's Other Place every
Thursday night. During these years I moonlighted with many other bands including
Grant Cook and the Starving Artists and
Lobo Loggins (also known as Three
of a Kind Band, Blackjack, and now
Four's A Crowd.) The Gutter Brothers finally broke up in
early 1997 and I started playing with a friend of mine named Bruce who led me
to some gigs in Lufkin, TX where I ran into the lead singer for a Pink Floyd Tribute
Band named Brain Damage. They were looking for a sax player and thought
I would fit the bill perfectly. I came to one rehearsal and then performed
at a local club with them and I was hooked. I played with them from
1998 to 2000 and toured with them all over the south east United States including
Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and all over Texas. So far, I had the
most fun with this band.
Brain Damage broke up in early 2000 due to
the usual things that break bands up. I spent about six months not performing
and barely picking up my horn to do anything. I realized how depressed
I was becoming about not performing and decided I would learn some Christmas
songs with a CD accompaniment to back me up and perform for local Christmas
events just to give me something to do, a goal to shoot for. This turned
out to be very good and therapeutic for me.
I learned that my friend,
Grant Cook, was performing near where I was living and I came out to sit in with him a few
times. He invited me to come play with him anytime I wanted and one thing
led to another and now I am currently playing most of his shows with him.
We play clubs, weddings, private parties, whatever. I started my (this)
web site in October of 2001 with the intention of playing more shows on my own
as a solo instrumentalist for Christmas parties, weddings, etc. and to satisfy
the many requests from people wanting to know where they can come see me play