Setup/Gear/Manufacturer of Instruments:
Tenor: Brass Plated Keilwerth SX-90 R / Gold Plated Laser Trimmed Guardala Studio / Rico Jazz Select 3S
Alto: 1942 Selmer Super Balanced Action / Beechler Metal 7 / Rico Hemke 2 ½
Where did you/do you go to school?
I went to Liberty High School in Renton, Washington. I am currently a senior at the University of Washington studying Political Economy.
Do you play any other instruments?
I play piano to a small extent, and would really like to learn guitar at some point.
Saxophonist Brandon Willis
Located in Washington, USA
Why did you begin studying music?
I started studying music in middle school after I was told by my elementary school music teacher I had a knack for the recorder. After playing saxophone for the first time at age 12 I knew I wanted to pursue music in any way that I could.
What are you doing with music now?
I am currently working on another solo project, teaching private lessons, and actively performing in the Seattle area.
Who are some of your influences?
On alto: Cannonball Adderley, Gerald Albright, Eric Marienthal. On tenor I love Steve Cole, John Coltrane, Kirk Whalum, Stan Getz.
Who have you studied with?
Darren Motamedy, Denny Goodhew
What are some of your goals musically for the future?
I plan on making music my career if it is possible. I am currently working on a new solo project that I am very excited about. I am working again with Seattle keyboardist Eugene Bien who helped me greatly in the co-writing process for the majority of the songs on my debut CD “First Time.” I hope to release it in the spring-summer of 2014, and I can’t wait to let you hear what we are working on. I plan on improving the formula for the music that that was on “First Time” and improve on it. I know that if I am playing music in the future, I will be happy!
What are your thoughts on what it takes to be successful as a performer?
To be a successful performer you have to be believable on stage. Having good technique, tone, and phrasing are all necessary components to being a good saxophone player and musician. But, to be a true performer, you have to do all of those things well in addition to being a presentable performer and host to your audience.
Do you think any other skills are needed aside from the ability to play your instrument well?
I think that it is crucial to be able to manage yourself. If you’re serious about a career in music you have to treat it like a business. Additionally, the ability to interface with your audience and listeners is a must. If you’re not engaging them, then call it quits!
What would your advice be for a fellow up and coming, young musician?
Listen to as many great musicians as you can, and develop good technique as early as you can. Also, practice any and everything you can that will help you develop as a player in whatever musical idiom you choose.
Anything else you’d like to add?
You can keep up with my upcoming shows and news about my upcoming album, and pick up my debut album “First Time” at my website.
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