I first met Jared Sims via our mutual friend, jazz pianist Tay Cher Siang. It was at the Thailand International Jazz Camp 2018 and I had received a WhatsApp message from Cher Siang telling me that his friend was at the same jazz camp I was. At one of the events, I realised that a familiar looking guy was sitting about to seats to my left during a Will Vinson Group workshop.
During a suitable moment, I asked him and it was then confirmed. This was indeed THE Jared Sims that our friend mentioned. Later on we had several conversations and we kept in touch since then.
Jared is a dedicated jazz educator & recording artist and I’m very happy he agreed to be part of this series! Let’s learn more about him.
JARED SIMS performs on all of the saxophones as well as clarinet and flute. He has toured throughout the United States and in Europe, South America, Asia and India.
Sims has performed live and recorded with an array of artists that include Han Bennink, Cecil McBee, Bob Brookmeyer, Matt Wilson, Stefon Harris, Landau Eugene Murphy, Temptations, Anat Cohen, Dave Liebman, Antonio Sanchez, Four Tops, Melvin Sparks, Soulive, Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers), DJ Logic, Kiddus I, Matisyahu, the 10,000 Maniacs, and Noel Gallagher (Oasis). Sims has also performed with large ensembles such as the Rhode Island Philharmonic, the Artie Shaw Orchestra, and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.
Sims has performed at the Thailand International Jazz Conference, Rochester Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Cleveland’sTri-C Jazz Festival, Flint (Michigan) Jazz Festival, Beantown Jazz Festival (Boston), New Haven (Connecticut) Jazz Festival, Quito Jazz Festival (Ecuador), Telluride (Colorado) Jazz Festival, and Northsea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands. He conducted college ensembles at Newport Jazz Festival five times.
Sims has appeared on more than 40 different recordings crossing multiple genres. His jazz recordings include The New York Sessions (2018 on Ropeadope Reccords), Change of Address (2017 on Ropeadope Records) Layers (2016), The New Stablemates (2012 on Arabesque Records), Convergence (released in 2011), and Acoustic Shadow (released in 2009). He other recorded work includes music for theme parks, television commercials, and video games.
Sims has performed on three recordings that were awarded four stars in DownBeat Magazine – Blueprint Project featuring Cecil McBee and Matt Wilson, People I Like with Han Bennink, and the Dead Cat Bounce recording Home Speaks to the Wandering.
Sims has been an adjudicator and directed All State bands in several states. He has given clinics and master classes at UCSI in Kuala Lumpur, the Thailand International Jazz Conference, the Asia Pacific Saxophone Academy (Bangkok), the U.S. Navy International Saxophone Symposium, Cornell University, New Hampshire All State, Emerson College, the U.S. Navy Base in Norfolk, Universidad San Francisco De Quito (Ecuador), Boston Day and Evening Academy, Maine All-State Jazz Festival, and St. Francis Xavier University (Nova Scotia, Canada).
Sims earned a doctorate in classical woodwind performance from Boston University. His primary research topic was the Italian composer Berio and his Sequenza pieces. Other research was done in the areas of Igor Stravinsky, Charles Ives, and American popular music. Sims studied jazz and improvisation at the New England Conservatory of Music where he had the opportunity to study with the legendary George Russell and Gunther Schuller, the MacArthur “genius grant” recipient Ran Blake, and jazz powerhouses George Garzone and Jerry Bergonzi. Sims earned his undergraduate degree from West Virginia University.
Currently the Director of Jazz at West Virginia University, Sims is the former Assistant Director of Jazz at University of Rhode Island and has taught previously at the University of New Hampshire, Boston University, and Southern New Hampshire University.
Let’s go on to the interview!
1. What’s your latest project?
I have a new record coming out on Ropeadope Records on October 12. It is called “The New York Sessions” and as the title implies, I recorded it in Manhattan. I have six album release parties that will be in Pittsburgh, PA; Richmond, VA; Washington, DC; New York, NY; Portsmouth, NH; and Boston, MA.
2. What inspires your music?
Places I go or places that I have lived
Embracing different people and cultures
Great artists and great recordings
3. What’s your 5 Desert Island Albums?
In no particular order:
Joe Henderson Tetragon
John Coltrane A Love Supreme
Maceo Parker All the Kings Men
Miles Davis Filles de Kilamanjaro
Stevie Wonder Fullfillingness’ First Finale
4. Who’s one artist/musician that you love but most people probably don’t know of?
I think that not many people know about Gene Ammons. He was an amazing musician and saxophonist. He had a great sound on his instrument and he played tunes and he played modal groove music. There is some great stuff he did with Sonny Stitt that is pretty straight ahead:
I really love some of his groove records:
Particularly this track:
5. What’s an advice you wish someone told you when you started in the arts?
The great pianist Paul Bley told me that it only takes an hour to make a record. I wish that someone could have told me that a good record tells a story. Even an instrumental record should have some narrative – some type of meaning or a thread of a story line.
6. As a jazz musician and educator, what has been your biggest challenge in your work? How did you overcome it?
The greatest challenge is striking the balance between being as great as possible on the instrument while giving the students a lot of attention. I overcame it by focusing my teaching. At one time I was teaching classical in addition to jazz and working at multiple universities. Now I teach at one school and just focus on jazz and this allows for more of a balance. The other thing to think about is simply having the instrument in hand every day and having the music in the ear as much as possible!
7. How do we reach you?
Other Website(s): WVU School of Music: https://www.music.wvu.edu/faculty/jared-sims
Thank you for reading this week’s instalment of #AzCreativeFridays. Please do check out the past interviews (18 so far) and come back next week for the next one with singer-songwriter Gabriel Lynch. Till next time! 🙂
Read the recent [Creative Fridays] interview:
[Creative Fridays] #14 : Taylor Roberts
7-String Solo Guitarist
[Creative Fridays] #16: Scott Murphy
Saxophonist and Composer
[Creative Fridays] #17: Nisa Addina
[Creative Fridays] #18: Jake Shimabukuro
[Creative Fridays] #19: Jared Sims
[Creative Fridays] #20: Gabriel Lynch
Coming up August 17 2018
[About Creative Fridays]
The original Creative Fridays was an interview series I did back in 2012. Published on my website, www.azsamad.com, it explored the musical influences of various musicians from all over the world. Relaunching this now in 2018, there are some cool add-ons. For a super obvious one, we’ve now added Spotify and YouTube links whenever possible for the Desert Island Albums list.
This to me is amazing because you can actually immediately listen to the recommended albums. Coming from a generation that used to make trips to the record store to check out new music, it still boggles my mind that we can immediately listen to the records that is recommended here. Imagine if you listened to the 5 suggested albums – how much could you learn from it?
Also, in addition to the original questions from the series, I’ve added a new question into the mix asking about the biggest challenge each individual has faced in their work. I’ve found that we all can benefit by learning from one another. Let’s share and grow together!
If you know a musician who you think could be a good fit to be featured in Creative Fridays, please contact me with your ideas. The focus is in diversity for music, cultural background, geography, age and experience. It doesn’t matter where you are around the world, if you’re a creative making interesting music on an interesting journey and have something to share, please reach out to me. Please do note, due to this being a weekly series, the interview may be featured later in the year depending scheduling.
Thank you! 🙂
[The Original Series]
Season 1: Every week for 13 weeks, published from Feb 2012 to April 2012.
[Creative Fridays] #1 : Kevin Broken Scar
(Melbourne Singer-Songwriter/Sound Engineer)
[Creative Fridays] #2 : Deborah Crooks
(SF Bay Area Singer-Songwriter)
[Creative Fridays] #3 : Dylan Kay
(UK/Auckland Jazz Guitarist)
[Creative Fridays] #4 : Azmyl Yunor
(Malaysian Singer-Songwriter/College Lecturer)
[Creative Fridays] #6 : TragiComedy
[Creative Fridays] #7 : Candelaria
(Oakland Cumbia-Dub Band)
[Creative Fridays] #8 : Pete Teo
[Creative Fridays] #9 : Lori McKinney
(West Virginia Bandleader/Festival Organizer)
[Creative Fridays] #10: Helen Sherrah-Davies
(UK/Boston Violinist-Composer & Berklee faculty)
[Creative Fridays] #11: Adam Everett
(SF Bay Area Drummer-Composer)
[Creative Fridays] #12: Julian Chan
(Malaysian Jazz Saxophonist)
[Creative Fridays] #13: Sharon Chong
(Malaysian Keyboardist and Vocalist]
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