Sixteen year-old Mairead Rising plays tenor saxophone and sings with the Glacier Peak High School Jazz Band in Snohomish, Wash. She shares an hour of her favorite jazz with Abe Beeson on March 2 from 8-9 p.m. on KNKX's Evening Jazz. Check out Mairead's killer version of The Jazz Messengers' "Moanin'" from Glacier Peak's School Of Jazz studio performance from January.
Which instrument do you play and why?
I play guitar, ukulele, flute and I love to sing but my main instrument is the tenor saxophone. I grew up listening to jazz and blues in my house, so it was all I heard and I loved it! I listened to Paquito D’Rivera, Brian Setzer, Ella Fitzgerald, Diane Schuur and Cannonball Adderley. Even though I loved the low end of the band, and it’s still my favorite, the sound of the saxophone spoke to me. I started on alto in 6th grade and my teacher Mr. Mines told me to switch to tenor. I’ve been playing ever since.
What’s your all-time favorite jazz piece?
This is an impossible question to answer! There are too many to choose from, especially with all the different genres. But I guess it depends on the mood. At the moment, some of my favorites are “Airmail Special”-Ella Fitzgerald, “Seeker”- Hiromi, “Blue”- Halie Loren, “Sticks”- Cannonball Adderley and “Sing, Sing, Sing”- Benny Goodman.
Who is your jazz hero?
My jazz hero by far is Ella Fitzgerald. Singing is my true passion and she's always been an inspiration to me. The way she sings is indescribable. It is perfect and unique in every way and I want to strive to be that. Her scat is my favorite. I've learned a lot about jazz singing from just listening to her as have many other people. She is my true inspiration because she speaks the art form so naturally.
Jazz brings out the creative, adventurous child in all of us. Not only does it remind me of my childhood, but it makes me feel so carefree. When looking at it, it seems so complicated. But when I feel the music there is nothing like it. I get jitters! Not only that, but it makes you a better musician. There are so many different types of jazz, and even if you don't like them all, the people are still incredibly talented. But I have a connection with jazz because of the emotion it evokes. The fact that it is felt and not scripted makes the music so much more powerful.
Mairead's Playlist for March 2, 2016:
"Airmail Special" Ella Fitzgerald (Live at Newport)
"Chill" Joshua Redman (Moodswing)
"Black Coffee" Jacqui Naylor (You Don't Know Jacq)
"Place to Be" Hiromi (Place to Be)
"Fat Lip" The Hornheads (Fat Lip)
"Something New" Nikki Yanofsky (Little Secret)
"It's Not Polite to Point" Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band (That's How We Roll)
"It Only Took a Kiss" Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (Rattle Them Bones)
"Sleeper" Snarky Puppy (We Like It Here)