I've always played, really. At age seven, my parents bought me my first cornet. My mom, herself a cornet player, started passing down what she'd learned as a kid in a family band playing community centers and grange halls during the depression era 30's.
When I was very young, I wasn't always a good practicer. I'd run out of patience and get frustrated. Often, though, mom would sit down and play the piano, and I'd fumble along on cornet. That definitely turned it into something more fun and more rewarding. The sound of a struggle between a solitary cornet and a set of exercises designed to be out of reach just can't compare with the sound of people actually making music together.
In high school I got into big band swing. My high school band teacher - thanks, Jack - had us playing big band stocks from the 30's & 40's. We played homecomings, proms, and community events all over northeastern Montana. Once I discovered those jazz rhythms, riffs, harmonies ... and swing ... that was it! So long Mr. Sousa ... gotta be movin' on!
I played in a couple of bands in college - a local big band and a jazz trio which played weekends at the country club. For pocket money, my college room mates worked in the cafeteria, the bookstore, the car wash ... I played the horn. I owe my parents for that, for certain!
Stumbling onto the local traditional jazz scene a few years after moving to Seattle was huge for me. I've been blessed in many ways. Regardless, it would be hard for me to overstate the impact of jazz on my life. I've met most of my friends through jazz; I've traveled; I've played and recorded with some amazing musicians. In addition to currently working with Holotradband and the New Orleans Quintet, I've been a regular member of the Uptown Lowdown JB and Evergreen Classic JB of Seattle, The Handpicked Jazz Men of Vancouver, B.C., The Good Time JB of Montana, and The Riverboat JB from Portland, OR. I've also played festivals with The Black Swan, The Sidewalk Stompers, and done a few swing festival appearances with Jonathan Stout's Campus Five from LA
I really love those nights when I have my best stuff, the band has it all working, and we make a real connection with an audience ... wow! It's pretty heady stuff!