Mikayla Gilbreath (17) began playing saxophone in September, 2005, and therefore still considers herself to be a novice. But her progress as a jazz musician has been nothing less than remarkable. Despite her young age and scant experience, she is currently Lead Alto Saxophonist for the nationally recognized DVHS Performance Jazz Ensemble. The band is widely considered to be one of the best high school jazz bands in America.
In August 2008, Mikayla was admitted to Glendale College where she presently studies Saxophone and Jazz Improvisation.
Gilbreath's passion for jazz grew from her exposure to the music of Sonny Rollins. On November 19, 2006, with just 14 months experience playing her instrument, Gilbreath had the great honor of meeting Mr. Rollins and playing her music for him. Gilbreath admits that having Rollins listen to her play was one of the most terrifying moments of her life! But by merely showing interest in Mikayla and her music, the legendary Sonny Rollins has created many opportunities for Gilbreath, and has instilled in her a genuine desire for personal achievement.
Since March 2007, Gilbreath has been featured on SonnyRollins.com as part of Meeting Sonny - The Sonny Rollins Podcast - Episode 3. In April 2007, Gilbreath appeared on National Public Radio where she participated in Jazz Journalists Assn President Howard Mandel's interview with Sonny Rollins entitled Saxophonist Sonny Rollins Still Swinging Strong. Gilbreath proudly notes that Mr. Rollins is referred to as her mentor in that piece. And in the September 2007 issue of JazzTimes Magazine, Gilbreath was featured in Nat Hentoff's article entitled Bridging Generations.