Do you play any other instruments besides the sax? If so, which ones?
I play a little clarinet, flute and piano.
Who are your favorite Smooth Jazz artists?
My favorites are saxophonists Gerald Albright, Eric Marienthal, David Sanborn, Grover Washington, Jr., and Dave Koz. I also like guitarists George Benson, Larry Carlton, and Norm Brown.
Who are your favorite recording artists (Smooth Jazz or otherwise)?
I listen to a lot of singers: Frank Sinatra, Alicia Keys, Al Green, Luther Vandross. It's important for an instrumentalist to study a singer's style and phasing as a way of understanding how to play melodically.
In What direction would you like to see Smooth Jazz head? Or are you pleased with it just as it is?
I think it's great to see the growing number of artist owned record labels, e.g., Rendezvous (Dave Koz), Peak, (Russ Freeman), and Artizen (Richard Elliot and Rick Braun), and I hope that this trend continues. These artists know first hand how difficult it is to make it in the music business, and labels like theirs will certainly help open doors for others who are just getting starting.
Do you remember the first song you heard that was pivotal in your life/career?
When I was a child my mother would play "White Christmas" every winter on her accordion. During the summer she would play "The Beer Barrel Polka." Watching my mother play these songs at parties convinced me at an early age that music was where my life was supposed to go.
How do you like living in San Diego? What's the one thing that all visitors should do when they're in America's Finest City?
I love living in San Diego. After having spent the first forty years of my life in Seattle, I'm enjoying San Diego's weather -- almost always sunny, never too hot or too cold. The people are also friendly and there are many smooth jazz fans, which makes working here easy and enjoyable.