Born in the small town Libby in the northwest corner of Montana, I first heard music when my father would play the harmonica around the house. He liked to play old cowboy/folk tunes like "Red RiverValley". My father, Nick, learned how to play the harmonica as a young boy from his childhood friend Lido Vizuti. Lido is the father of the well known trumpet player Alan Vizuti. My mother, Joyce, also played trumpet when she was in high school so I was doubly inspired to play the trumpet but changed my mind to the saxophone at the last minute for reasons I still do not know.
In 1972 I joined the public school band program, started on alto saxophone and was hooked. My first teacher who was a wonderful sax/clarinet educator was Ken Berg. While in high school I encountered the soprano saxophone and became fascinated with it. After High School I went to RockyMountainCollege in BillingsMontana for one year. I then transferred to EasternNew MexicoUniversity where I bought my first soprano saxophone and found that this was my voice. I earned a bachelors of music degree at EasternNew MexicoUniversity where I studied with Dr. Duane J. Bowen, a personal hero to me. A move to central Illinois followed where work involved several groups. The most notable were the West African Highlife band Bontuku and the pop/rock/funk band Modern Humans as well as working in a variety of small jazz groups at the fabled Nature's Table.
A move to Chicago in 1990 has offered me many opportunities and experiences.As a performer I've worked with Vinnie Colaiuta, Christopher Cross, Danny Gottlieb, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, California Transit Authority (Danny Seraphine and Bill Champlin), Steve Rodby, The Temptations, Bob Newhart, Marie Osmond, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra and currently tour with the actor/musician Gary Sinise's Lt. Dan Band. As a member of the Lt. Dan Band since 2007, I have performed in Afghanistan, South Korea, Japan, Kuwait, Europe and Canada as well as almost all of the U.S., averaging 40 shows a year. In 2008 I performed with the band Kimotion at the Ho Chi Minh Conservatory of Music and the Hue Festival in Vietnam.
In 1993 I was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Study Grant to study with David Liebman. Liebman's influence was not limited to the soprano saxophone and jazz improvisation but also composition. In 1998 I went back to school at NorthwesternUniversity and received a master's degree in jazz pedagogy. In 2000 I received a City of Chicago Community Arts Assistance Program Grant to record some of my original compositions. I also am a founding member of the Chicago Jazz Composers Collective (CJCC) as well as teach at NorthCentralCollege in the jazz studies department and am a Senior Lecturer at Lake ForestCollege.