Brad Eastin's sound advice 

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A jazz studies professor at Colorado State University at Pueblo since 2004, saxophonist Brad Eastin has an impeccable resumé. Artists he’s worked with include Cab Calloway, Rosemary Clooney, Frankie Lane, Nat Adderley, Dizzy Gillespie and The Temptations. Brad is also the father of Brian Eastin, frontman of local indie-rock band Had I Known. A former member of USAF Academy bands Falconaires and Blue Steel, with whom he played for two decades, the musician says his heaviest influences are John Coltrane, Stan Getz, The Brecker Brothers and, of course, Zoot from The Muppet Show.

Essential Saturday night listening: It depends on whether or not I’m performing. If I’ve got a gig, it will be something upbeat: Earth, Wind & Fire, Steely Dan, John Coltrane or maybe early Gato Barbieri or Frank Zappa. Even if the gig is not high-energy, I like to be up for anything. If not working, I try to listen to something new, regardless of genre.

Essential Sunday morning listening: Usually cool jazz or new age, sometimes light classical. Sunday mornings are laid back at Eastin Acres, so more like Stan Getz, Chet Baker, early Miles, George Winston, Debussy, Ravel and almost always classic R&B.

First record I bought with my own money: Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass’ 1965 album Whipped Cream and Other Delights. I wish I could say I was super cool and it was Rubber Soul but I really loved the Tijuana Brass at that time. Plus, that album cover was an important ingredient in a young man’s journey into his early teen years.

“Wish I’d written that” song: “Lush Life” by Billy Strayhorn. Billy wrote dozens of great songs with Duke Ellington, but this is my favorite and it’s all his. Amazing melody, gorgeous chord changes and lyrics that rip your heart out. I’ve never heard a version I didn’t love, but I like Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane’s best.

“Wish I could unhear that” song: This is weird. I was at Disney World in 1974. Got onto the “It’s a Small World” ride. The ride broke down halfway in. It took them 40 minutes to get it started and get us out. The song “It’s a Small World” never stopped in all that time. You get the idea.

My latest online discovery: Wow, so much stuff. Kamasi Washington for sure. This young man is taking jazz in the right direction, in my opinion. He is a great tenor saxophonist, but that is really not his point. There are so many influences, from ’70s jazz to Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti Western stuff, Sun Ra to Earth, Wind & Fire. Just love it. Check out his new one, Heaven and Earth.

Artist more people should know about: I’m gonna be a homer and say our own saxophone star Tony Exum Jr. Really taking care of business and making a national name for himself. Pretty darn good deejay too. Also this Springs group Had I Known. [Laughs.] Really great stuff!

Guilty pleasure: The Dictators’ Go Girl Crazy! Don’t ask, just Google.


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