It all started with my dad's record collection.

While snooping around my family's apartment in Pittsburgh, PA as a 5-year-old, I discovered three albums in my dad's record collection: The Benny Goodman 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert, Masterpieces by Ellington and Ellington at Newport. My life was never the same.

First, I wanted to be Gene Krupa...

...then my grandfather brought home a Bundy clarinet that he purchased for $30 at a garage sale while visiting us in Denver. Which was significantly less than the $800 price tag on a new drum kit that I saw at Pro Drums in Englewood, CO that same year, 1974. Benny Goodman was my next move.

I started clarinet lessons at age nine with Richard Joiner (1918-1998), then the principal clarinetist of the Denver Symphony Orchestra. At 13, I picked up the alto sax; at 14, the tenor sax. After studying political science at Stanford, I began a professional musical career in 1992...and I've been doing it ever since.


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