Sax for the Suffering Soul

I always get people asking me how I became interested in jazz. People always give me their shocked reactions when they hear me randomly call out the name of a jazz tune or singer anywhere I hear music. They say that people my age don't know this music or appreciate this music. My response is always the same. I tell them, "Well, I do. I have an old soul." Here's how I became acquainted with jazz music.

Before I knew jazz music, before I knew myself, I was in a whirlwind of uncertainty. Uncertainty of my thoughts, uncertainty of my passions, uncertainty of my beliefs, just uncertainty about myself. Living with struggles and questions about one's self is definitely one of most difficult things to get through as I'm sure anyone could understand. But for me, I had so many unanswered questions, uneasy thoughts, pent up frustration, and doubts of myself that I needed an outlet to resort to. Luckily, for my own sense of sanity, I was taught jazz music. It was then, learning about jazz, that I realized a new outlet and new and growing understanding about myself was finally taking place. And I have two amazing men/teachers to thank for it.

Jeff Ellwood - Director of Instrumental Jazz Studies at Mt. San Antonio College, Cal State Fullerton Jazz Saxophonist

Jeff Ellwood was my jazz music history professor over at Mt. San Antonio College. He was the one who introduced to me such beautiful music when I had enrolled in the class by mistake. What a great mistake it was!

Ellwood is one of those hidden saxophone gems that I've been so lucky to hear of. He studied and received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Berklee College of Music and Master of Music degree from Cal State Fullerton. In 2001, Ellwood received the "Best College Saxophonist Award" at the Reno Jazz Festival. In 2002 & 2003, he was accepted to the Henry Mancini Institute on a full scholarship and would later appear multiple times with the Henry Mancini Alumni Big Band at the Jazz at Lincoln Center concert in New York City. Ellwood has worked and studied with James Moody, Rick Margitza, Billy Pierce, Hal Crook, George Garzone, Gary Foster, James Rotter, and Charlie Banacos to name a few. He's also performed with legends such as Tony Bennett, James Moody, Randy Brecker, Stevie Wonder, Bob Mintzer, Eddie Daniels, Arturo Sandoval, John Williams, Quincy Jones, etc. Jeff Ellwood can be heard performing with Alan Pasqua Jazz Collective throughout the greater Los Angeles area.

As mentioned before, I was so luckily to be taught jazz music by a professional who had a true passion for the art and sound of it. He took a girl who walked into his class with no expectations, no reservations, and gave her the understanding and love for jazz and desire to keep learning more. I will always be thankful to Professor Ellwood. I even had the pleasure of seeing him perform at a Mt. Sac spring jazz concert a few years ago and it 'snothing but a pure treat. He's amazing! And if he reads this, I would just like to tell him "thank you." He could never know how much truth and meaning those two little words have.