Take a Peak: Steve Carson

Young saxophone player credits grandfather

Musician Steve Carson is one fifth of Powell River jazz combo Take 5. Carson’s brother Eli (drums), Duncan McDonald (trombone), Cullen Buholzer (guitar) and Hannah Schweitzer (piano/vocals), are the group’s other members; all are 14 to 16 years old. Take 5 will appear monthly at That Sugar Vault, beginning Saturday, January 14, to raise money to attend Musicfest Canada in Niagara Falls, Ontario, from May 14 to 19. The group qualified for the national event last May with a gold standing at the West Coast Jazz Festival in Nanaimo.

What was the experience like at the West Coast Jazz Festival?
It was amazing; we played awesome. The adjudicators loved us and it was a great opportunity.

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What was your first instrument?
My dad showed me my first instrument; it was the alto sax. Then I started playing with my grandpa and he moved me to the clarinet; I was probably three or four years old. We just started playing and it went from there. Every day after school I went to my grandpa’s and practised and practised. He was a great influence in my music. The clarinet was my main instrument for a while, then I got more into the jazz scene and picked up the tenor sax. Now I play saxophone and clarinet.

Do you remember the first song you learned?
Booker T and the MG’s “Green Onions,” on the alto.

What is it about jazz music that attracts someone so young?
Jazz is very creative and that’s what caught me; the creativity and the interaction. The drummer might play something and I’ll hear it and that inspires me. I’ll play back to him and we’re speaking the jazz language; it’s amazing. The confidence comes from experience. When I first started, I’d read off the page. I was more into the music stand. But now I’m off the stand, it’s a whole different music because of the improvisation.

What are you listening to right now?
I’ve been listening to a lot of the Wynton Marsalis family: Wynton Marsalis big band and Branford Marsalis. I’ve been listening to Canadian saxophonist Phil Dwyer and Kurt Elling, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. I’m also into a lot of Miles Davis; those guys.

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