ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — His jazz chops from him have taken him everywhere in the world, however Justin Stanton’s at all times pleased to play for a hometown crowd in his native Elizabethton.
“I owed all the pieces to my upbringing in Elizabethton and the mentorship I had by means of notably each my band administrators, Rick Simerly and Perry Elliott, and likewise Debbie Gouge, who I used to be in her choir my senior 12 months of highschool,” Stanton mentioned throughout a Transient go to to Information Channel 11.
The trumpeter, keyboardist and composer — a member of Grammy-winning jazz collective Snarky Pet — will hit the stage of the Bonnie Kate Theater at 8 pm Tuesday main a shortly assembled quintet of a few of his favourite gamers.
Snarky Pet sax participant Chris Bullock and session gamers Mike Seal (guitar), Jay White (bass) and Adam Chase (drums) be part of Stanton for what he mentioned will likely be an eclectic night time that features originals from all 5 musicians.
The group has performed collectively, however barely. They did a present in additional than a bar setting in Knoxville Monday night time and received in a second rehearsal Tuesday afternoon earlier than loading in on the historic theater that is changing into a mecca for arts and tradition in Elizabethton.
“It was a pleasant likelihood to type of unfold out and type of get our sea legs on the music as a result of that is really the primary time this specific group of musicians has performed collectively,” Stanton mentioned of Monday’s present.
He mentioned the night time needs to be a mixture of following the songs’ primary themes mixed with riffing from every of the musicians.
“I feel there will be one thing for everyone,” mentioned Stanton, who received an undergraduate diploma at East Tennessee State College earlier than shifting to Denton, Texas and incomes a grasp’s in jazz efficiency on the College of North Texas (UNT).
“There’s some instrumental stuff, some extra jazz-focused stuff and likewise some extra type of pop and R and B influenced vocal music. So I feel it may be a enjoyable night time – very eclectic night time, for certain.”
From ‘Lizabethton to Lisbon: A jazz journey
Stanton mentioned he could not have had a greater formative introduction to music than what he acquired in Elizabethton, the place the ‘Betsy Band has an extended, proud custom of state championships and accolades.
Because it occurred, jazz trombonist Rick Simerly was educating center college band at TA Dugger when Stanton entered within the mid-Nineties.
“That was my unique mentor for all the pieces,” Stanton mentioned of Simerly. “Rick was simply probably the most wonderful musician.”
After getting a trumpet put in his fingers in sixth grade, Stanton began piano classes in seventh grade. Then got here Elizabethton Excessive Faculty and Perry Elliott, who was an amazing motivator. Stanton made some regional and state aggressive bands and “grew to become extra interested in what kind of avenues to pursue with careers in music.”
That curiosity in performing for a residing intensified when Stanton was at ETSU, the place he received a common music diploma with some extra robust mentoring sprinkled in.
Stanton jumped on the likelihood to attend UNT, which has a fame as a breeding floor for jazz performers. It was there he met Mike League, a bassist who was simply beginning Snarky Pet.
Stanton’s trajectory for the reason that mid-2000s has been certainly one of growing success within the jazz efficiency world. He writes and performs two devices with Snarky Pet but additionally performs, information and writes with quite a lot of different unique artists and teams.
Stanton ultimately met his present girlfriend, famend Portuguese singer and recording artist Gisella Joaoa, and has lived in Lisbon, Portugal for the previous few years.
A veteran of massive metropolis tradition at this level, Stanton mentioned he is glad to see the revitalization of Johnson Metropolis and Elizabethton’s downtowns, and particularly the progress on the Bonnie Kate, which was at risk of falling to the wrecking ball a decade in the past.
“It is a dream to return again type of full circle to Elizabethton, come again and carry out in an area that is being repurposed as an artwork house,” Stanton mentioned.
That features a burgeoning jazz scene. The theater’s Sean Huber mentioned the chance arose when the Johnson Metropolis Jazz Collective wanted a brand new venue popping out of the pandemic after beforehand taking part in at Wellingtons in Johnson Metropolis.
“Invoice Perkins leads that and assembles totally different teams for Tuesday night time Jazz on the Bonnie Kate,” Huber mentioned.
That began a few 12 months in the past and a dozen or so ensembles have appeared within the rotation. However Huber mentioned getting a musician of Stanton’s caliber—for the second time within the final six months, no much less—is a shot within the arm.
“It introduced a number of consciousness to Elizabethton for the forms of jazz and totally different jazz gamers there are on the market,” Huber mentioned.
The modifications make Stanton pleased. He mentioned he remembers seeing “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993) and lots of different motion pictures on the Bonnie Kate earlier than it closed.
“It is cool, it is inspiring and it is encouraging to see that taking place on this space to return again. It makes me enthusiastic about the way forward for this space and what it has to carry for arts and tradition.”