Born: San Francisco
Resides in: Vallejo
Favorite Food: Japanese food
Favorite Book: The Spinoza Problem
Relationship Status/Children: Married to Rosemarie, 2 grown step children
How old were you when you began playing saxophone? I started playing clarinet in the fifth grade band program and took up the saxophone in eighth grade.
Why jazz? It speaks to me. It is what I call a high art form – infinitely challenging. You can study and practice jazz for a lifetime and still feel like a beginner. I love it far more than any other musical genre.
What brought you to Vallejo? My wife. We met my sophomore year of high school. She was a freshman and we were both in the band. We went steady for about six months until I broke it off. We didn’t see each other for 37 years! We reconnected through a mutual high school friend.
What's the first music you remember hearing? It might be the opera Boris Godunov by Mussorgsky. My father was from Russia and he would play music by Russian composers.
When did you start writing your own songs? I don’t know of any jazz musician that doesn’t write. I’ve been writing for decades, but I don’t consider myself a composer. Jazz is improvisation and composition follows naturally because of the nature of the art.
What do you in your spare time? I exercise pretty religiously. I walk and go to the gym. My wife and I spend a lot of time together. We’re a very close couple. We spend a lot of time in the city—going to see jazz, opera, a park, the museum. I read a lot and study French.
What was your best moment on stage? Over the years, I’ve come home glowing. Those were times where I feel I exceeded myself. It’s all about musical growth. And it’s also when the band played together and communicated musically.
You book the jazz music at the Benicia Jazz & Arts Festival. What’s that like? It’s not a formal position; I don’t get paid. I book the bands and I function as the emcee. I try not to repeat bands. I like to mix up genres and bring broad exposure to many different bands. I like to bring in a couple of vocalists, some Latin jazz and something edgy that pushes boundaries.
If you couldn’t have been a musician, what would you like to have been? An urban planner. I love cities. I love the notion of creating gardens and pedestrian walkways.