Friday, February 29, 2008

Introduction to me.

Hello, I am Ian Kowalczyk, and this is my blog.

This is my blog about my daily life and projects I will be working on, and even includes articles on saxophone repair and playing, and on top of that will provide you with some history about my favorite saxophones, and the companies that designed them.

I am a saxophone player, and I have been playing for around five years, and I enjoy it. I was recently involved in a bicycle accident, so I had stopped playing for a little while, and I am currently having my Conn New Wonder Series II Transitional Tenor saxophone restored by J and J woodwinds. (

I was born in Visalia California on April 23, 1991. I have lived in many different states, and even in Europe. Music is my life, and I enjoy othing more, and nothing less, (except for my family whom I love). I grew up as a little kid always wanting to play the saxophone, and when I got to elementary school, and had the choice of being able to play it, my parents just could not afford to rent one, or buy one. We moved, once my dad got a better job, and I was able to get a saxophone. As a little kid, one day I won a radio for good behavior, and when I got home, I would always listen to the Jazz station in Springfield Missouri. This was in third and fourth grade. I move to Colorado, and there were no Jazz stations, so I had nothing to listen to. We moved back to California, and we had a smooth jazz station that I would listen to everyday. During a few Christmases, and birthdays, I acquired some CD's, like an album with Makoto Ozone playing Vibes. I was given CD's with Glenn Miller, and Tommey Dorsey, and I listened to them over and over. We then moved to West Virginia, and there were no Jazz stations, but a year later I found a station that played Jazz. I was a listener of NPR, and I am famous for staying up late, and one night, I turned on NPR, and noticed they were playin Jazz. I kept listening, and found out it was every Friday night, and Saturday night. I would leave the tape recorder on and go to sleep, so I could listen to the jazz the next morning, and for the rest of the week, until the next weekend. The Show was called "Jazz After Hours." I eventually waen to highschool, and I became a Freshman, and I joined the Jazz Band. I loved that highschool, and I am no longer going there a the moment. The Jazz band was fantastic. I had joined the one in middle school, who was directed by my most favorite band Teacher, Phil Wyatt. In the middle school Jazz band, we were used to randomly playing solos, (well when there was the time for a solo), and I just started playing away one day, and Mr. Wyatt loved it. I was inspired to start improvising more, and I eentually went the Lincoln Jazz Festival, and we played two songs that I had solos in. C-Jam Blues, and Little Brown Jug. Before the festival, my parents had joined a Church group that couples and families would meet up once every two weeks, and go over to each other's houses, and have dinner. I met David Wright, my Teacher, and he offered to give me lessons. I started getting lessons, and practicing. I thought he just had a nice saxophone, and was an alright guy, (because I had never heard him play much during lessons. During the Festival, he was directing the West Virginia Wesleyan College Jazz band, and I saw him there, and I had previously stopped taking lessons do to being busy, (but not too busy). In the Brochure, was his biography, and I read the countless bands and famous musicians, and groups he had played with, and I said, "Why did I stop taking lessons?" I talked to him, and we eventually started doing lessons again.

In Highschool, my best friend Justin Hilliard, gave me a DVD to borrow that had Prince playing at the Aladin. The Band was great, it consisted of Eric Leeds, and Greg Boyer, and Maceo Parker, and a few other musicians. I would always pause, and then rewind Eric's solos to listen to them over and over. I loved his tone, and his B-bop playing style. It fascinated me, but later I learned more about music.

My Freshman year, my teacher, (who was a family friend, and I helped out a lot), asked me to come help him move some things back at the college. While in the event of doing so, he was playing an album, on his stereo. I WENT NUTS!!! I wante to know who was playing, and I heard things being played on the saxophone, that I never even dreamed were possible. I had heard Giant Steps, and other amazing pieces with Bebop, and change running, and chords, and what not, but This song was amazing. It was Michael Brecker, who still to this day is my favorite player. He has accomplished what no other player has done. His sound, and his technique were leaving me standing in awe, as I was going to piss myself listening to it. I listened to the song maybe twenty more times. WE stopped at a McDonalds, and Dave went inside to get something for us, and I listened to hte piece over and over, and he go back in the car and said, "How may times have you listened to this song while I was gone?" I simply smiled the biggest grin I could, and laughed. I asked if I could borrow the CD, and he let me. The song was Chromosome, and he was playing wih Mike Stern. Amazing.

In highschool, I thought we would play solos in Jazz band without them being assigned to person, and I was wrong. But it earned me three solos on Bari. The teacher said, "Actually, nicole was supposed to play there," and asked me afterwards, if I would like a solo or a few. I did, and I wrote all night two of them, in which I would variate off of and improvise throughduring my concerts. I would never play the same solo twice. I just had to establish what licks, and chords I would play during it, and write a beginning, and sometimes an end.

The Next Year, I was Lead Tenor, and it was fun. I felt so cool getting all of the solos, and to make it better, my technique was even better, and I was just learning change running, after hours practicing it, and trying to understand it. Then I moved here to Uniontown, where I hate it, but have learned a bit about music theory, but I have no Jazz bands to play in. I have had to go through so much hardship here, and wish that I could play in a jazz band. But I have a new tenor, and I cannot wait to get to play in a college Jazz band. I enjoy everyday I play the sax, and could not be happier. I am thankful that there is music.

I am currently a Junior in Highschool, and I am taking a vacation from McDonalds to catch up on my homeschooling. I am also a fire fighter, and I repair saxophones for the local school, and other musicians in the area.