Jacob Chung

This week’s Member Profile features saxophonist Jacob Chung. He shared some of his thoughts about the program:

1) How has the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band experience been so far?

It has been a privilege playing in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band under Jules; there is no feeling comparable to that of playing great charts alongside such talented and driven peers. Anyone who is serious about playing jazz ought to audition for the bandIt has enormous educational value and provides an opportunity to connect with like-minded peers.

2) What has been your favourite performance this year?

We played at The Pilot in Yorkville, Toronto this past January—the second time I have played there with JAZZ.FM91 in my tenure. I love how the smaller size of the room facilitates the intensity of certain moments. The audience’s proximity makes the gentle tunes feel especially intimate, but also feeds energy to the band at points of high intensity.

3) What upcoming event(s) are you looking forward to the most and why?

I am looking forward to playing the Old Mill Inn on March 5th, which will be recorded live and aired in entirety shortly after. The next night we share Lula Lounge with Gord Foote and UTJO.

4) The Youth Big Band 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?

JAZZ.FM91’s Youth Big Band has played a tremendous role in my musical development in this important stage of my life, and I am deeply grateful to be afforded the opportunity to share my musical passion through my contributions in the band. I hope to give back to JAZZ.FM91’s supporters by continuing to make music that is meaningful and moving to the community, and I hope that there continues to be donations to afford future generations this same wonderful opportunity. Thank you for supporting JAZZ.FM91.

5) How has your playing changed since you joined the Youth Big Band?

I joined the Youth Big Band last year as a tenor player, and developed my section playing and big band soloing. This year I made the switch to lead alto and I am deeply exploring interpretation.

6) What music are you listening to at the moment that you find particularly inspiring?

While the influence of the great players of the past is inescapable, my exposure to local/Canadian musicians such as Kirk MacDonald, Lorne Lofsky, and Kenji Omae have significantly shaped my concept. They inspire me to achieve a level of mastery at which I have complete freedom of expression in improvisation.

7) Do you have any plans for the summer?

I will be gigging with JAZZ.FM91 and hopefully participating in the National Youth Jazz Combo program this summer. I am also seeking part-time employment—please hire me!

8) Do you plan to audition for the group next year?

Unfortunately, I am in my senior year and will be graduating this coming May. I will be ineligible to play in the band next year.

Lightning Round:

Favourite musical artist: Kirk MacDonald, Kenji Omae, Joel Frahm, Ahmad Jamal.

Last live concert / show you attended: Kirk MacDonald/Ralph Bowen Quintet Tribute to John Coltrane at the Rex.

Favourite TV show or movie: Buzzfeed’s “Worth It” series is a guilty pleasure.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? I’d really like to explore nature on the Canadian West Coast.