What kind of person would you like to teach your kids music? Someone with an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject, combined with a passion nearly unbounded? A teacher with patience, who also knows when to “crack the whip”? Someone to whom children flock, seeking his attention and approval? A music teacher who introduces them, not only to the best music, but to those who make the music? A teacher who is a virtuoso on his instrument (in this case, tenor saxophone)? Someone who does everything he can to make sure each and every student reaches his or her potential?
Hey, congratulations, if your child goes to Denver East High School. That’s where Keith Oxman teaches Instrumental Music. Your kid’s well on his/her way to a great love of music. And by the way, Oxman’s leading his quartet at Dazzle this Thursday, September 1st at 7PM and 9PM. Call (303)839-5100 for reservations.
With Keith Oxman on tenor saxophone, the quartet consists of: Jeff Jenkins, piano; Ken Walker, bass: and Todd Reid, drums. Oxman said, in a recent telephone interview, “We’ll be playing originals, standards, and some ‘Trane stuff’.” “Some Trane stuff” can easily be translated by those who know Keith. In this gig’s case, it will mean John Coltrane’s compositions “Resolution” (from the classic album A Love Supreme) and “Lonnie’s Lament” (from the near-classic Crescent). Otherwise, it could mean anything from the Coltrane library, Keith Oxman being a rabid fan of the great tenor/soprano saxophonist and composer.
It came as something of a surprise, therefore, that Oxman’s first jazz inspiration was not Coltrane. “No, the first guy that really got to me was Charlie Parker”, he explained. “It was later on that I got turned on to Trane. I heard Blue Train, and really started digging Coltrane.”
Keith Oxman attributes his original inspiration to play music to Dr. Willie Hill, a world-famous jazz educator who was Keith’s teacher at Hill Junior High (now Hill Middle School). “This was before he was Doctor Hill”, Oxman laughs. “A long time ago.” He continued his music studies at George Washington High School and Denver University. As a teacher, Keith has taken Dr. Hill’s example and run with it. “You know, I felt so many people didn’t ‘get’ music. If I could teach, maybe I could start a ‘ripple’, where a lot of people might be affected.”
That “ripple” has been spreading from East High since 2000, when Oxman started teaching there. And, with performances like Thursday’s Dazzle shows, and many great recordings (that can be found at Twist and Shout, Denver’s best independent record store), the “ripple” has become like a “jazz tsunami” that can find its source in Keith Oxman.
Congratulations, Denver East High School. And everyone that listens to the Keith Oxman Quartet at Dazzle Thursday.