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.
'On sonnyrollins.com,' [Jazz Journalists Association President, Howard] Mandel continues, 'You can see Mikayla Gilbreath, a 13-year-old saxophonist from Tempe, Arizona.' On one of the podcasts, Gilbreath, who first heard Sonny’s music in her grade school... is seen meeting Sonny backstage. ...And she tells how she became committed to the jazz life. ...'I heard Sonny Rollins, and I just loved it. I loved the way it sounded and I just -- I wanted to play jazz instead of just music.' ...Mandel asked her if there was anything odd about having been 'drawn to the music of someone whose background is so different from hers.' ...Wisely, the 13-year-old answered, 'You know, I really don’t think it matters
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