DEON YATES


Testimonial

My new MANTRA Tenor piece is fantastic. Finally I have the sound that I have been searching for. The projections is excellent and it gives me just enough bite to cut through some of the funkiest grooves!

Biography

With the release of his last project featuring Jazz Guitarist Nick Colionne, Vocalist Maysa and Soul Trumpeter Lin Rountree, Saxophonist Deon Yates has become one of the most sought after emerging talents in contemporary jazz. He has shared the stage with contemporary jazz stars Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Nick Colionne and even, most recently, comedian Sinbad along with a host of others. Deon has been recognized as an affluent instrumentalist and performer by some of the top music manufacturers in the country with endorsements from industry leaders Sax Dakota U.S.A., Theo Wanne (Mouthpieces), Harry Hartman Fiberreed and AMT Microphones Deon has proven himself to be a world class artist.

Deon grew up on the East Side of Detroit where he was introduced to jazz by teachers Donald Washington and Hosea Taylor. Deon quickly became an accomplished woodwind player proficient in both jazz and classical music. One of the first gigs Deon landed was with Jazz Drummer Leonard King (James Carter Organ Trio), at the age of 16, along with band mates Regina Carter: Violin and Rodney Whitaker: Bass. Deon was nominated for an Emmy Award for original music he produced for a PBS Television program in 2001, and has performed as a special guest on concerts with Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Alexander Zonjic, Rodney Whitaker, James Carter, Roy Brooks, Marcus Belgrave, Kem, Dwele, Gerald Veasley, Clarence Carter, Kirk Whalum, The Floaters, The Contours and many others. With the DYJIII, Deon brings you traditional jazz style with a contemporary twist.

He is currently in the studio with super producer Nate Harasim finishing his next release "Saxafaction" which will be out early 2015.

His current CD "Spotlight" is available on cdbaby.com, iTunes and Amazon.com and features chart topping Smooth Jazz guitarist Nick Colionne, vocalist Maysa Leak (Incognito), and Detroit “Soul Trumpeter” Lin Rountree.
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Inspiration

Why did you choose to become a musician?
I didn’t. Actually being a musician chose me. As a kid growing up, I had plans on becoming a baseball player. I was good at it but as time went on music just took a hold of my spirit and led me down the path.

What is your experience when you feel connected into the music?
I don’t think I can put it completely into words but the closest thing I would say has to be ONE! Oneness with the world, your soul and God. It’s like using the “Force.”

What is your experience of when you don't feel connected to your music?
It is a rare occasion that I don’t feel connected to music but there have been times when I wasn’t able to play for a long period of time and let me tell you, it really put a drain on my soul.

Where does your inspiration comes from? What does it feel like?
I’m inspired by the world and the people around me. It seems the older I get the more emotional I get and if something or someone strikes a chord in me, I try to portray that emotion in my playing. My wife and children are the biggest source of inspiration that I have. They inspire me to do better, to want better and I want to make them proud of me.

What is your experience while improvising? Does it relate to any spirituality you may practice in your life?
Again, it’s the connection and the “Force,” when I am in the zone, ideas just seems to flow through me more so than just out of me. Music is its own religion and connecting with it is definitely spiritual.

Do you have any fun stories of inspirational moments to share?
I always talk about this sax player from Detroit named Cassius Richmond. I first met Cassius when I was 8-years-old and had just started playing the flute. Cassius was only two years older than I was but all ready was an exceptional musician. Later on we played in school band together and all of us jazz band members wanted to be as good as Cassius was. One day he took me and a couple of other guys into the ally and dug a root from the ground. Cassius said if you practice eight hours a day and chew on this root, you will be able to play like me. So there we were collecting these roots and chewing on them all day long just so we can play like Cassius. Where Cassius’s genius was, and what we did not realize as kids, was that he got us to practice. He said “If you practice eight hours a day and then chew…”

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