When you think of Nashville, jazz probably doesn’t come into your head any more than bluegrass does when you think of Detroit or polka does when you think of London. But if rising saxophonist and hometown product Rahsaan Barber has his way - and judging by the instant appeal of his terrific new album, Everyday Magic, don’t bet he won’t - a change is coming to the traditional image of Music City.
“When I tell my New York friends there are all these fantastic jazz musicians in Nashville, they say, come on, really?” said Barber, at 31 an integral part of its music scene as a performer, studio musician, and educator. “It’s tough sometimes. But as a local kid who has played with or heard a lot of those musicians, I’m really hoping to help bring more attention to them.”
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Though he’d never make such a claim, it’s a fair statement to say that saxophonist and bandleader Rahsaan Barber is Nashville's version of Wynton Marsalis. He’s an articulate and gifted musician and soloist who doubles as the type of passionate, charismatic advocate the music desperately needs in its ongoing struggle to reach wider and younger audiences. - Ron Wynn, The Nashville Scene
Willing to teach
In August of 2005, Belmont University hired Rahsaan to teach the celebrated music school’s saxophone studio at the young age of twenty-five. In his work at Belmont University over the next six years, Rahsaan was promoted to full-time instructor, teaching private lessons, improvisation, ensembles and performance seminars. Currently, Rahsaan teaches a private studio featuring lessons on improvisation, arranging and practice techniques. Rahsaan is also a sought-after clinician at the collegiate level, and has been invited to present master classes by numerous music programs, including the Nashville Jazz Workshop, Tennessee State University, the University of Louisville, the University of Memphis, and the University of North Carolina.