Doug Stone Jazz is a community for jazz improvisers created by Doug Stone, a tenor saxophonist and jazz educator.
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The first half of the concert closed with my “Nasty Dance”, a Joe Lovano feature from Mel Lewis days. I am starting there because of the tenor playing of Doug Stone. To even play this piece is hard enough but Doug took it to places I had not imagined—it was virtuoso playing on the highest plane and I frankly don’t know how he managed it. When you “show your ass” to the world, it better be blemish- free—his shone like a baby. His other solo offerings were good too, but this was a performance I won’t forget. I wouldn’t hire him, I’d kidnap him.
- Bob Brookmeyer
Doug Stone’s career has involved work as a touring musician, primarily with jazz trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson and his band, the Big Bop Nouveau, as well as with the “world-jazz” group Panoramic, and with a number of ensembles from Chicago, Illinois. His time on the road has taken him to virtually every corner of the United States as well as Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, and Canada. As a member of groups at Northern Illinois University, Stone had the opportunity to perform with Frank Foster, Benny Golson, Frank Wess, Jimmy Heath, Rufus Reid, Larry Ridley, and Carl Allen. As a member of the Birch Creek Academy Band he has performed with jazz luminaries Dennis Mackrel, Harold Jones, Derrick Gardner, Tanya Darby, Reggie Thomas, and Clay Jenkins. He spent six years working full-time as a freelance saxophonist and woodwind player, teacher, composer, and arranger in the rich musical environment of Chicago.
Mr. Stone can be heard on recordings from the Sam Craine Quartet, the Dave Hoffman Sextet, the NIU Jazz Ensemble and Jazztet, the Jazz Arranging Syndicate, Birch Creek Academy Big Band, the Ed Breazeale Group, the Ji Young Lee Quartet, the Stuart Mindeman Group, the Ian Torres Big Band, the John Burnett Orchestra, Panoramic, Quintopus, the Rick Holland Little Big Band, the Rich Thompson Quartet and Trio, the Westview Project, the John Nyerges Quintet, the Bob DiBaudo ensemble, the Eric Schmitz Sextet, and the Tom Marko ensemble. Stone has four recordings to his credit as a co-bandleader: Doug Stone/Josiah Williams “The Early Riser”, Stone/Ziemba Duo “In the Zone”, Nick Fryer/Doug Stone “Quartet”, and The Stone/Bratt Big Band “SBBB”.
Stone is also a published arranger and composer (Kendor Music). His compositions and arrangements have been performed by professional, university, and high school level jazz ensembles throughout the United States.
In 2009 Mr. Stone moved to Rochester, New York to pursue a double master’s degree in jazz performance and music education at the Eastman School of Music. He has performed in Rochester with the Dave Rivello Ensemble, the Westview Project, the Gap Mangione Big Band, Quintopus, the John Nyerges Duo and Quartet, Jeff Campbell, Rich Thompson, and other talented local jazz artists. While in western New York, Stone has worked with several noteworthy musicians including George Caldwell, Bobby Militello, Harold Danko, Gene Bertoncini, Bill Dobbins, Mark Ferber, Ike Sturm, Charles Pillow, Allen Vizzutti, and the Mambo Kings.
Since 2009 Mr. Stone has taught private lessons, ensembles, and classes at the Eastman Community Music School (ECMS). He has also served as chair of the ECMS jazz department and has directed the prestigious Eastman Youth Jazz
Orchestra. In 2012 Mr. Stone accepted a position as the director of jazz ensembles at the Rochester School of the Arts (SOTA) in Rochester, New York. He taught several ensembles, classes, and lessons at SOTA.
In the summers Mr. Stone teaches at the Eastman Summer Jazz Studies Program, the Tri-Tone Jazz Camp, has previously served as co-director of the Eastman at Keuka College Jazz Camp, and served as assistant to the director at the Birch Creek Jazz Camp.
Mr. Stone has held teaching positions at The State University of New York at Brockport, the Northern Illinois University Community School of the Arts in DeKalb, IL, and he worked as private saxophone, jazz, and small group instructor at St. Charles North High School in St. Charles, IL.
Mr. Stone looks forward to his new role as Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at Louisiana State University.
Q. What brought you to jazz? Do you remember hearing or playing a specific piece that sparked your attraction to the field?
A: My dad loved Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich and lots of other jazz. So, even before I began playing saxophone, I knew and loved jazz. I even brought a cassette tape of Maynard Ferguson's "Primal Scream" for show-and-tell in first grade. My dad took me to a Maynard Ferguson concert in Kewanee, Ill. when I was in third grade. Although Maynard was impressive as always, I enjoyed watching and listening to the saxophone players, and on the way home from the concert I told my dad I would like to try the saxophone. His barber also happened to be a very active and talented saxophone player in Peoria, Ill., my hometown, and I started lessons within a couple months. That first teacher, Dave Parkinson, taught me the chromatic scale, and then we started improvising with Jamey Aebersold play-along recordings! I have played jazz since the beginning.
Q. How are you coping with social distancing / working from home? What tips do you have for fellow musicians (and people in general) to keep spirits up and artistic passion satisfied during these crazy times?
A: I have four young boys, so most of my days have been spent working with them and doing the necessary housework and chores. It has been amazing to spend such quality time with my family! We are really thriving mentally and emotionally as a result of this unforeseen break. I have some other projects that I wish I had time to work on, but with the responsibilities I have right now, I do not have a moment to spare in the day. So working from home has actually led to a busier schedule than normal.
Most of the people with whom I associate have plenty of work to do, from their professional lives to their family lives and many other responsibilities. I think taking care of your family, friends and neighbors should be a focus during this time. I also find it very helpful to count my blessings each day.
Q. Can you speak to the significance of events like this for young musicians -- the opportunity to network with and learn from professional musicians from outside their own community?
A: Jazz education is alive and well in America and throughout the world and has been for decades. Many times, schools are where young people are first exposed to jazz. Currently, the majority of college jazz majors cite high school jazz band experiences as the impetus for their chosen career path. If you enter a high school band room and ask if there is anyone who listens to music they would consider jazz, I guarantee you would get multiple hands in the air. It is a wonderful time to be a jazz musician and student of jazz.
There are great jazz musicians in every city I have ever lived in or visited. It is quite common for guests from other regions to be brought in as clinicians at festivals. Outside clinicians can bring fresh ears to the music. Networking is also a huge part of a career in music. Although there are thousands and thousands of jazz musicians around the world, the community sometimes feels very small as connections are made.
Q&A pulled from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette 2020