Name: Jason Weber
Location: Southern California
Profession: full time musician
Years Playing: 30+
Jason Weber is an extremely talented and versatile saxophonist located in Southern California. I’ve had the opportunity to see him play a number of times and he always graciously permits me to pester him with questions about the effects he uses on his saxophone, playing tips, his setup and more. I am extremely grateful that he was willing to do an interview on Teen Jazz and I think he offers a lot of great information on what he’s done to become as succesful as he is today.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST BEGIN SERIOUSLY STUDYING YOUR INSTRUMENT?
I got relatively serious about it during high school. I had a chance to play a few gigs while still in high school, but was playing out pretty regularly toward the end of my freshman year in college. Although I went to a small college (University of Wisconsin – Parkside), I had the opportunity to study saxophone & clarinet with Tim Bell who was the 2 o’clock director at North Texas prior to taking the job there.
WHO ARE YOUR GREATEST INFLUENCES?
David Sanborn was the first saxophonist that I heard that really made me want to play. Since then there’s been a lot of other great players that have influenced me. Michael Brecker, Kenny Garrett, Bob Berg, etc. Not that I really play like any of those guys, but a little bit creeps into my playing here & there.
WHO OR WHAT GAVE YOU THE CONFIDENCE TO PURSUE MUSIC AS A CAREER?
Still working on that! 🙂
HAVE YOU HAD ANY DIFFICULTY REMAINING TRUE TO THE MUSIC YOU WANT TO AND SEE YOURSELF DOING IN BALANCE WITH MAKING A LIVING IN MUSIC?
In order to play full time, I think you have to make certain compromises from time to time. I manage to keep a full performance schedule & in order to do that, I think you need to be versatile. Some gigs can be less than thrilling, but you do what you need to make a living.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT IT TAKES TO BE SUCCESSFUL AS A PERFORMER? HOW DO IMAGE AND OTHER SKILLS SETS (ASIDE FROM PLAYING AN INSTRUMENT) FIT INTO THAT?
People skills are probably just as important as being able to play your instrument. That’s not really a forte of mine, so I feel pretty fortunate to work as much & as consistently as I do.
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING WITH YOUR CAREER FOR YOURSELF?
Not nearly enough! All I’ve ever wanted to do is play. The business side of music is something that I really don’t enjoy.
DOES YOU WISH ANYTHING HAD HAPPENED DIFFERENTLY WITH CAREER?
There have been a few bridges that I’ve burned that haven’t really helped me. Again, it comes back to good people skills.
WHAT DO YOU SEE YOURSELF DOING MUSICALLY OVER THE NEXT 10 YEARS?
Most likely more of the same – just at a higher level. I’ve been putting more focus on playing baritone sax lately, which is a somewhat unique voice as a solo instrument.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CONTINUE TO PURSUE MUSIC? HAVE YOU EVER COME CLOSE TO GIVING UP?
It’s what I do! I’ve never really wanted to do anything else & I just want to continue to improve my playing to be the best musician that I can be. I did almost quit a long time ago. It was right after I started playing in 4th grade. I had a great band director that talked me into sticking with it though.
COOL PEOPLE YOU HAVE PLAYED WITH:
A few years back, I had the opportunity to play some gigs with & record 2 live CDs with Steve Ferrone. There were a few different versions of that band that included: Alex Ligertwood, Brian Auger, Brandon Fields, Gerald Albright, Robert & Dean DeLeo from Stone Temple Pilots & a bunch of other great musicians.
Recently, I’ve been playing with Darryl Williams & Tony Moore who back up a lot of smooth jazz artists.
I also played some shows with Max Weinberg (Bruce Springsteen / Conan O’Brien) & Bill Champlin (Chicago) a couple of years ago.
WHAT WAS YOUR LAMEST GIG? WHAT WAS THE BEST?
Lamest – Any gig where I have to play so quiet that there’s really nothing coming out of the horn.
Best – Any gig where I actually get to play & be appreciated by the audience.
ADVICE FOR A YOUNG MUSICIAN:
If you’re interested in pursuing music as a career, make sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons. If you imagine yourself doing anything else for a living & still be happy, you should do that. The music business is not easy! You can always play as a hobby.
FAVORITE JOKE ABOUT YOUR INSTRUMENT:
What’s the difference between a saxophone & chainsaw? Vibrato.
NEW RELEASES AND PROJECTS:
2012 – Mike DeRose & Jason Weber – “1st Avenue Reunion”
2011 – Michael Rosati & Jason Weber – “Bringin’ It”
2009 – Jason Weber – “Five”
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