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Chicago’s I Rock Jazz Series Features Saxophonist De’Sean Jones

De'Sean Jones

John Moultrie’s I Rock Jazz series sponsored by rolling out is quickly becoming the place to be on Friday nights in Chicago. On Friday, March 19, the party made its way over to the Sofitel Hotel at 20 E. Chestnut to build on the growing momentum that has buoyed from venue-to-venue around Chicagoland. The crowd  sent up a resounding “yes” to the music of saxophonist De’Sean Jones and he and his band kept the room charged all night. We spoke with the master musician after the set about his music and the motivation behind it. –brenda hull

How did you come to play the saxophone?
I actually picked up the saxophone as a challenge to my dad. I told him I could play an instrument at least as [well] as he could. He said to me prove it, and he bought me a saxophone. I have taken playing serious since that time.

Is jazz your first love?
I love music. I am not just a jazz musician, I am a musician. I play a lot of different styles of music and the music comes first and the type of music comes second.

You‘re from Detroit and playing jazz in Chicago. How did that happen?
I enjoy representing Detroit music in the Chicago area. The alliance between the Detroit and Chicago musicians is not where it should be. The fact [is] there are enough of us to start a movement in music … but we need to work together more.

What’s your advice to a young person who wants to get started in music?

If you are going to be serious about [making] music as a professional, pick up some books on business because while it is great to make music, this is still a business. So many people come out as great players but with no business savvy and get taken advantage of.

And I would stress to young people to appreciate all music. Don’t discredit or discard it because its jazz, classical or Latin. If the music moves you or touches you, it is important and valid.

What books do you recommend?

Autobiographies are great to start with. Do your history and check out the people who have done this music before us.