Born: January 1, 1971 Primary Instrument: Reeds
Born in Chicago on New Year’s Day 1971 and moving to Columbia, South Carolina as an infant, the prodigious youngster began fooling around on guitar and piano at the age of three. He took up the alto sax at the age of ten and played on his first jazz gig at the age of 13. But his eclectic musical education really began with his personal investigation of his parents’ record collection. Spanning everything from Bach to Schoenberg, and gamelan music to the Beatles, Chris explored it all avidly, taking a special interest in albums by Miles Davis and Dave Brubeck.
When piano legend Marian McPartland first heard Chris at 15 years old (an encounter that eventually led to his contract with Concord Records in 1994), she told his father that Chris was ready for the road with a unit such as Woody Herman’s. But finishing school was a priority and by the time he graduated, he was playing alto, tenor and soprano saxophone, bass clarinet and alto flute....