This week we feature guitarist Andrew Marzotto, who was a member of the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band from 2009 to 2012.
A native of Toronto, Andrew’s interest in music developed very early and he started playing guitar at the age of nine. Starting with local rock bands, his interest in jazz began upon entering high school. In addition to performing in school bands and taking part in the Humber College Community Music Program, he participated in two Berklee College of Music summer programs: the 2010 Berklee Jazz Workshop and the 2011 Summer Performance Program. In 2012, he was chosen to take part in the Yamaha All Star Band and received the Music Industries Association of Canada Scholarship.
Following high school, Andrew received a full scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music, where he is currently completing his undergraduate studies in performance and film scoring. His teachers have included Kirk MacDonald, Lorne Lofsky, Mick Goodrick, Jack Pezanelli, Bret Willmott and Terri-Lynne Carrington. He has performed in Canada as well as various cities in the United States.
Andrew took some time to discuss his experience in the Youth Big Band program and outline is more recent musical activities:
1) Describe your experience with the Youth Big Band program. What was your favourite aspect?
Being a part of the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band was a wonderful and fruitful experience. I enjoyed getting to play with like-minded musicians my age on a weekly basis. I also equally enjoyed sharing the stage with (guitarist) Bucky Pizzarelli for a concert at the Old Mill. Getting to trade solos with the master himself was one of the most inspiring musical moments of my life.
2) What is your strongest memory of the Youth Big Band program? Are there any funny stories or incidents that come to mind?
There are many great memories from my experience with the Youth Big Band. One of my favorite memories is getting to hang out and play at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. I thought that was one of the strongest concerts we played and getting to play with (vibraphonist) Stefon Harris at the jam session was a surreal experience.
3) Would you recommend this experience to other young musicians?
I would definitely recommend the Youth Big Band for other young musicians. Being around so many great young musicians, clinicians, guest artists and the man himself, Jules Estrin, proved to be one of the most fun and educational music programs I have ever been a part of.
4) How has this experience helped in your personal and professional development?
Being in the Youth Big Band has helped my professional development immensely. It showed me how important being punctual and responsible is for a musician. The many friendships and musical connections I have formed with the members of the band have lead to numerous opportunities outside of the Youth Big Band as well.
5) This program is made possible by our generous donors and sponsors who strongly believe in the importance of arts education initiatives. If you had the opportunity to thank them in person, what would you say?
If I had a chance to talk to them personally, I would express deep thankfulness. I would let them know that they are doing a beautiful thing by giving myself and countless others the opportunity to be in such an inspiring and musically stimulating environment. I feel as though my musical future just wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for being in the Youth Big Band and meeting the people I have met through the program.
6) Why is music education important?
Music education is important because it builds imagination and intellectual curiosity. It has been proven that introducing music in the early childhood years can help promote a positive attitude toward learning and curiosity. Music education is also something that seems to be lacking in public schools today. Music should be promoted with the same importance as other subjects because of the many things you can take away from a great music education.
7) Since participating in the program, what have you been doing?
Since the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band I have been studying at the Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship. I have had the opportunity to be a part of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute where I have studied with Joe Lovano, Danilo Perez, Dave Liebman and John Patitucci, and performed at many community outreach events that promoted social change through music. This past September I traveled to California and performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival with the Sarah Mckenzie Quintet. I am in a few student-lead groups that perform around Boston such as the Lana Scott Band and the Aaron Tevis Quintet.
8) What music are you listening to at the moment that you find particularly inspiring?
Some of the things that I am currently listening to are: Nikolai Roslavets, Miles Davis – Miles in the Sky, Eric Dolphy, Charles Ives – 2nd Symphony, Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin, and David Binney.
9) What are your plans for the future?
I plan to graduate Berklee and either move back home to Toronto or pursue a master’s degree somewhere in the United States. I would eventually like to move to New York City or perhaps somewhere in Europe. I want to keep performing, composing and practicing as much as I can.
10) How can people learn more about you and your activities?
Thank you JAZZ.FM91 for the wonderful opportunity you gave me. I learned so much and met so many great people. Keep on swinging!