Next in our new series of interviews with some of Central Ohio’s finest jazz musicians is saxophonist Colin Wood. A native of Charleston, West Virginia, Wood went to West Virginia University in Morgantown for his Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies. In Charleston, he played with musicians including Bob Thompson, Ryan Kennedy, John Inghram, and the Latin Jazz group Comparsa. Wood moved to Columbus in 2013 and started his Master’s Degree in Saxophone Performance at OSU last year, where he studies with Jim Hill and Shawn “Thunder” Wallace. His current projects include his WoodWork Trio, which sounded great at a recent Brothers Drake performance and plays again this weekend (see below). Keep reading for insights into Wood’s musical background and interests:
When and why did you start playing music and jazz?
Colin Wood (CW): I took piano lessons when I was young and took up saxophone in 6th grade. I started getting serious about music in about 9th grade, when I switched to tenor and was introduced to jazz through my teachers and friends.
Who are some of your main influences in your playing/performing?
CW: Stan Getz was my first influence on the saxophone, and is still a large part of my playing. Joe Henderson and Joe Lovano later became obsessions of mine, and some of my favorite modern players include Mark Turner, Walter Smith III, and Marcus Strickland.
What is your fondest musical memory?
CW: I had the great fortune of studying abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for 6 months in undergrad. While there, I heard amazing local music including samba, choro, bossa nova, frevo, MPB, and jazz. The highlight for me was getting to play with a young composer, pianist, and singer Diana Horta Popoff (the niece of Brazilian guitar legend Toninho Horta), playing her original music with an incredible Brazilian band.
What are you listening to today? What’s on your playlist?
CW: I have been on an Ornette Coleman kick recently in honor of his passing, trying to understand better what he was doing. I also have been listening to a lot of Mark Turner, J.D. Allen, and Melissa Aldana, who all have great recordings in a saxophone trio setting.
What inspires you about the Columbus Jazz scene?
CW: Since I’ve been in Columbus, the biggest thing I’ve come to appreciate about the music scene is the generosity and supportiveness of the musicians. We have a great scene with absolutely killer players, but everyone is very kind and wants to help one another out. I don’t feel a competitive nature here.
What are you working on for 2015? Any new projects, exciting shows or releases?
CW: My group the WoodWork Trio (with John Allen and Brian Ellerman) has been my main focus recently, and our next show is Saturday, July 25th at Wild Goose Creative with the super awesome Radarhill. I’ve got lots of ideas for other groups and I am planning my graduate jazz recital in the fall, so hopefully some new music and maybe a new ensemble will come out of that.
For more on Wood, check out his Facebook page and YouTube channel.