Guest Student DJ Colby Jackson: Jazz Is Musical Freedom Where Everything Is OK

Oct 8, 2015

Note: Each month, KPLU invites a teen guest DJ to play his or her favorite pieces on the air. The program is part of KPLU's School of Jazz.

Colby Jackson from Bellarmine Prepartory School is the Student DJ for the month of October. Colby's hour aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on October 8th.

To get to know him better we asked Colby to answer a few questions about jazz:

Which instrument do you play and why?

I play the Tenor saxophone. I started playing Sax in middle school because my music teacher wouldn't let me play percussion. So I reluctantly choose the next coolest thing. As I started playing more and started listening more and more I became extremely interested in the saxophone. Tenor sax especially. I began practicing a lot more and developing my sound. I couldn't stop playing. It's just one of the instruments that really made my heart pound listening to and playing. Now, I play for that exact reason. Every time I'm playing in the school Jazz band or soloing in my small jazz group I get that feeling and everything just feels alright.

What's your all-time favorite Jazz piece and why?

My favorite jazz piece has to be Channel 1 suite played by Buddy Rich's big band. That song has everything a Jazz lover could ask for. Screaming high brass sections. Fast and Versatile sax phrases. A long juicy Tenor Saxophone solo. A Buddy Rich drum solo that gets pretty crazy. And finally the stripper tempo section near the end with the bass trombone as a transition to the trumpets screaming in their proper registers.

Who's your Jazz hero and why?

My Jazz hero would have to be one of my best friends Eric Graupensperger. He's pretty much the only reason I kept pursuing jazz when I got into high school. He always keeps pushing to do better and he is a truly excellent musician. But, for the record, my favorite jazz artist has to be James Carter. Simply because his ideas and his crazy sound are so intense. Plus, the way he speaks through the saxophone is so amazing. Nobody can match the mastery of the sax like James Carter. I can't help but be amazed every time I hear him.

What is Jazz, exactly?  How would you explain it?

Jazz is musical freedom where everything is ok.

Colby's Playlist:

  1. “RHAPSODY IN BLUE” DUKE ELLINGTON (Recollections of the Big Band Era)
  2. “CHEROKEE” WYCLIFFE GORDON (Standards Only)
  3. “BUT NOT FOR ME” CHET BAKER (Chet Baker Sings)
  4. “DANNY BOY” MAYNARD FERGUSON (The New Sound of Maynard Ferguson)
  5. “FRISCO FOLLIES” JAMES CARTER (In Carterian Fashion)
  6. “SKYLARK” PAUL DESMOND (Skylark)
  7. “CHANNEL 1 SUITE” BUDDY RICH BIG BAND (Best of Buddy Rich: Pacific Jazz Years)
  8. “LA VIE EN ROSE” LOUIS ARMSTRONG (C’est Si Bon)
  9. “THE GROOVE MERCHANT” THAD JONES (Portrait)