JAKE WHITESELL, saxophonist
Jake Whitesell grew up in Potsdam, NY, where he began studying clarinet & saxophone in 7th grade. He soon fell in love with the sounds of jazz and formed a jazz combo with his peers. Jake attended The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, playing in numerous ensembles and studying saxophone with world-renowned classical saxophone artist / educator Timothy McAllister, and jazz with Bret Zvacek, Jon Roney, and Josh Rager. Jake graduated in 2005 with a B.M. in Saxophone Performance and a Jazz Studies minor. During school, Jake performed professionally with his jazz group and as lead alto saxophonist with The Crane Jazz Ensemble and Wally Siebel's All-Star Big Band, backing up jazz greats such as Gary Smulyan, Ken Peplowski, Gene Bertoncini, and Steve Wilson. Since college, Jake has been performing and teaching in a variety of musical styles in NY, MA, and for the past 7 years, VT.
Now one of Vermont's most in-demand saxophonists (doubling on flute & clarinet) and jazz musicians, Jake resides in the Burlington-Montpelier area and performs full-time with The Kat Wright Band (touring nationally), The Jake Whitesell Trio/Quartet, The Whitesell Brothers Quartet, Gua Gua, Mal Maiz, and George Petit's Conduit, while teaching privately and freelancing with other projects, such as Rob Morse's "Sound of Mind" Nonet and The Saturn People's Sound Collective. In 2011 and 2012, Jake taught theory and saxophone at the Vermont Jazz Center Summer Camp. Jake's jazz combos have been featured prominently at the annual Burlington Discover Jazz Festival since 2013. His trio and quartet have performed numerous times in Burlington at Red Square, Juniper Bar & Restaurant, The Farmhouse Tap & Grille, Bleu Seafood, Radio Bean, and The Skinny Pancake.
As saxophonist and horn arranger with The Kat Wright Band, Jake has performed at numerous festivals including Jam Cruise, The Montreal Jazz Festival, The Syracuse Jazz Festival, Rochester Lilac Festival, Arise Music Festival, Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, Grace Potter's Grand Point North, The Frendly Gathering, and Manifestivus, and has opened for such bands as The Doobie Brothers, Soulive, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, The Original Wailers, Lake Street Dive, and Rubblebucket.
Jake has also performed with The Temptations, John Pizzarelli, Ray Vega, Vorcza, The Dartmouth Gospel Choir, Joey Leone's Chop Shop, Barika, Nick Cassarino, Dennis Mackrel, Peter Apfelbaum, Eugene Uman, Guy DeVito, Craig Eastman, Afinque, The Eames Brothers Band, Dave Grippo, Dark Side of the Mountain, The Grift, Gabe Jarrett, Paul Asbell, Bearquarium, The Vermont Jazz Center Big Band, Vermont Symphonic Winds, and The Crane Wind Ensemble.