The pieces are AWESOME!! I got home about a half hour ago and greeted the mailman with your package. I've been playing both of them and my custom Link back and forth. I intend on playing them a whole lot more...
Originally from the Boston area, Skip has been teaching and performing in New Jersey since 1985. After attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, he spent three years touring throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. He then settled in Atlantic City, New Jersey where he became an active part of that music scene. Skip has performed with Natalie Cole, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Aretha Franklin, Donna Summer, The Temptations, Jeffrey Osborne, Tommy Tune, Ben Vereen and many others. When he returned to finish his education at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia , he was featured as a soloist along side Randy Brecker and Bill Watrous. He has also recorded with Patti LaBelle, Teddy Pendergrass, Bobby Rydell and has done jingles for KYW Radio, WPVI Channel 6 and Bally's Park Place. In 1990 he had the honor of performing for Barbara Bush in the Senate Caucus Room in Washington.Skip holds a (BM) with honors in Jazz Saxophone and an (MAT) in Music Education from The University of the Arts, and a Certificate from Berklee College of Music in Boston. He is the instrumental music teacher at Berlin Community School, Director of it's award-winning Jazz Ensemble, and Past Secretary of the NJ-IAJE (International Association of Jazz Educators), In addition to public education, Skip has taught saxophone at Rowan University and Woodwind Methods at the University of the Arts.
Why did you choose to become a musician?
I didn't choose it. It chose me.
What is your experience when you feel connected into the music?
For me, that experience is almost too intimate - too personal. I don't get there often but when I do it is very powerful. As a primarily "commercial" player, much of what I play is about fitting in to the situation around me. On that level, I do feel an adrenaline rush when we are all playing in the pocket, feeling each other.
What is your experience of when you don't feel connected to your music?
This is all too common unfortunately. When you play "music for hire" you often are playing music that doesn't speak to you and gives you little pleasure. As a result, you must find the positive and make the best music you can within that style, at that moment. Like the weather in New England, it will change. Soon you will be back to playing a piece of music with which you feel more connected.
Where does your inspiration comes from? What does it feel like?
In my case inspiration usually comes from one of two places. 1) Listening to other players I admire live or on recordings. 2) Having a deadline and desire to do a good job.
What is your experience while improvising? Does it relate to any spirituality you may practice in your life?
At the highest level, I am just playing and not thinking. There is not analysis of chord changes or thinking about the time, etc. My saxophone playing and spirituality are likely connected on some level however, I don't tune in to that very much.
Where does your inspiration while composing come from? What is your experience of that inspiration like?
I've written many tunes, songs, compositions - whatever you want to call them. Many were written for the purpose of demonstrating a style or fulfilling a client's wish. Often I will find the inspiration in a pre-existing song of a similar style. That may be the starting point. You can work with the form or the changes and add your own melody. Sometimes it ends far away from where it started. On a few occasions I have written songs at the piano that just "came out" while sitting there for a time. That is very rewarding. It's almost like you didn't write it. It was there waiting to be let out.
Do you have any fun stories of inspirational moments to share?
I don't take myself too seriously. There is great pride in my sound, time and feel but I'm not always in control of the situation around me. There are two examples that still make me laugh. 1) When playing with Aretha Franklin for the 3rd time I finally got to take the famous solo on "Respect." Although I had played with her a couple times before, I played the alto, not tenor chair. It became my time came to stand up and play what was originally done by King Curtis. They never turned my mic up and Aretha talked to the crowd over my entire solo. :( 2) When playing a Christmas show with Marie Osmond, the 1st tenor player passed over the part with a rock and roll tenor solo on it. It may have been Boots Randolph's Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree with Patti Page. Whatever the case, I thought it was generous of the other player to share the solos. The conductor then came over to me and said, "When you stand to take the solo put these on." He handed me a pair of antlers.