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The best kept secret in music


"Catching Up With Roxy Coss"

Roxy Coss graduated in 2004 from Garfield High School, where she was the prize-winning band’s first-tenor saxophonist. While with the Garfield band she won several outstanding
soloist awards, including one from the Essentially Ellington competition at the Lincoln Center in New York.
She currently studies music at William Paterson College, just outside New York City, in suburban New Jersey. She attends the institution on a Presidential Scholarship, a full-ride award that is made to 50 outstanding first-year students each year.
She now plays tenor and soprano sax, as well as flute, and has launched a professional playing and composing career while still at school. As she relates here, she’ll be back in Seattle to play some gigs in
the summer. For now she is hard at work with her studying, gigging and, lately, some recording, too.
You’ve studied and played with some powerhouse players of the New York scene. Can you describe some of those experiences?
Outside of school, I’ve been working with several musicians whom I have met either through classmates or their friends. There are so many great musicians in the Paterson program, and every one of them knows everyone else in the community, including alumni, students of the New York schools, and just other musicians out there.
Last year I was doing an experimental project that never really took off , but we were doing diverse stuff – from Freddie
Hubbard to Stevie Wonder, to D’Angelo, to Michael Jackson. It’s cool to meet other musicians who love all different music, versus just straight ahead bebop, but be able to incorporate our jazz roots, training, and ears. I also recorded with a jazz quartet that I had been rehearsing and gigging with. Most recently, I recorded with Flux, a
new group that will be touring the West Coast this summer. This recording is available to listen to on my website [www.
roxycoss.com] and also on my MySpace page.
Currently I am playing with a quartet
that recorded a demo in February. We
are planning a summer tour of the West
Coast. The group consists
of two other West Coasters,
drums and bass from California,
and a pianist from Virginia
Beach. I’m really excited about
the group because we’ve all
played together but never really
put together anything formal,
and now we are actually getting
together some arrangements, as
well as playing originals, and
we have something concrete to
prepare for. It’s great to have a
recording studio at school because
I’ve been able to record
many of my own compositions
and direct how we record.
Is William Paterson College
proving a good place for
One reason the jazz program
here is great is that it allows
students to create their own
concept groups and focus on
a certain style of music or
composer/performer. I’ve led
several such groups in school,
including John Coltrane, Dexter
Gordon, Cannonball and
Coltrane, Duke Ellington,
and Stevie Wonder ensembles,
among others. I’ve also played
in several original composition
and arranging ensembles
and the William Paterson Jazz
These ensembles have allowed
me to focus in on music
that I may not have had the
time or opportunity to otherwise. William
Paterson runs Jazz Room Series on
Sundays where student groups perform
before the main acts. In these and other
ensembles, I’ve had the opportunity to
open for the Dave Leibman Big Band as
well as Rufus Reid’s Quartet Plus Four.
Also, as a part of the big band, I had the
opportunity to perform with Joe Lovano
and trade with him on “Giant Steps.”
Clark Terry recently joined the adjunct
faculty here, as well, and last year was
leading one ensemble that I was able to sit
in with. So I got to play with him.
Th at was such a humbling experience.
He was sitting there, talking about Duke
Ellington as if he were in the room, and
expecting us to instantly learn these
32-bar melodies after about one or two
times of him just singing them in his gruff
voice! He was so respectful of us though
– and encouraging.
Th ese opportunities have been a great
way to feel comfortable playing with
some of the jazz greats, which isn’t a
common opportunity, versus a jam-session
setting where you feel more pressure
to show off licks and feel the need to be
really good.
Who have you studied with?
My freshman year I studied with Gary
Smulyan, which was so fun. He is the
nicest, most supportive teacher, as well
as just an overall cool guy. His approach
to music is so diff erent than any other
teacher I’ve had, so it was a great way to
open my eyes to new ideas of playing and
listening when fi rst arriving in the area.
He just throws you in the fi re and says,
“Look, you are doing it!” while you’re
thinking “Th is is the worst stuff I’ve ever
heard.” It was stressful but strengthbuilding.
I’m currently studying sax with Rich
Perry, who is in the Village Vanguard
Band. He is almost a twin of Jay Th omas
in terms of personality and vibe. It is - Eearshot


Professionally Recorded Demo (Independent Label: William Paterson Recording Studio, Wayne, NJ, February 13, 2007)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Flux is a quartet that brings together four very unique and diverse musicians to create a unified and pure sound. As all of the members come from different musical and biographical backgrounds, the music prevails with deep emotions and directions unattainable by most straight-ahead genre music today. Flux aims to create a new sound of jazz, and music in general. The heightened interaction and spontaneous creativity of this quartet gives listeners a look into the future of the music.

Originally from the diverse scene of Seattle, Roxy Coss is currently a Presidential Scholar at William Paterson University, located in the greater New York area. Since moving there in 2004, she has appeared frequently at various jazz clubs and restaurants throughout the area, becoming an in-demand instrumentalist amongst her peers. In New York, she has performed at Sweet Rhythm, the 5C Cafe, Lincoln Center, the C-Note, and appeared live on the Today Show. She has also played internationally at the North Sea, Vienne, Montreux, and IAJE jazz festivals, as well as in Paris. She has appeared live with such legends as Clark Terry, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Slide Hampton, Joe Lovano, Bill Watrous, and Dave Valentin. Roxy has also been writing her own music since she was young, aiming to create her own voice in omposition as well as performing. Several of her compositions have been recorded professionally over the years. While Roxy’s main influences on the saxophone include Dexter Gordon, Hank Mobley, and John Coltrane, she has also been influenced and played such diverse music as Stevie Wonder, Top 40, Classic Blues, Brazilian Music, Classical Music including Bach and Altes, and other diverse genres, all influencing her unique, deep sound. “My goal is to establish a new musical genre, breaking boundaries and preconceptions of present day music. I want to make music you can feel in your
bones, full of honest passion, awareness, humor, spirituality, growth, pain, joy, and love.”

Drummer Shawn Baltazor grew up in the very diverse and active music scene of the San Francisco Bay Area, CA. Originally influenced by Rock and Roll, Shawn began taking an interest in improvised music during his last years of high school. Shawn is an alumnus of William Paterson University, as well as the highly competitive Staens Institute for Young Artists. He has performed at the Knitting Factory, the Bitter End, Birdland, Jazz at Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, and Sweet Rhythm in New York, as well is in Jazz Festivals in Morocco and the Ivory Coast in Africa.

Justin Kauflin has an improvisation zeal matched by technique that is equal parts lyrical and emotional. Although classically trained, Justin prefers the improvisational opportunity jazz provides, which is readily apparent in his mastery of the piano. From Virginia Beach, Justin is also at William Paterson, where he has performed with Mulgrew Miller, Clark Terry, and Wynton Marsalis. Justin draws his influences fro all forms of music, hoping to bring a true and pure musical experience to the world.

Kellen Harrison is also from the Bay Area, CA. An alumnus of William Paterson as well, he has played in New York at CBGB's, the Lion's Den, the Knitting Factory, Cecil's Shanghai Jazz, the Pourhouse, and Kavehaz. He has also appeared at leading venues on the west coast, including Pearl's in San Francisco.