JAKE WHITESELL, saxophonist
Jake Whitesell grew up in Potsdam, NY, where he began studying clarinet & saxophone in 7th grade. Jake dug deeply into classic jazz recordings during highschool and formed a working 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, John 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 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 with The Kat Wright Band (touring nationally), The Jake Whitesell Trio/Quartet, The Whitesell Brothers Quartet, Gua Gua, Joey Leone, and The Grift. Jake is also a freelance performer, studio musician, private music teacher, and music transcriptionist / arranger / copyist / engraver.
Jake's jazz combos have been featured prominently at the annual Burlington Discover Jazz Festival since 2013, and have performed numerous times in Burlington at Foam Brewers, Red Square, Juniper, American Flatbread, The Farmhouse Tap & Grille, Bleu Seafood, Leunig's, Radio Bean, and The Skinny Pancake. In 2011 and 2012, Jake taught theory and saxophone at the Vermont Jazz Center Summer Camp.
As saxophonist and horn arranger with The Kat Wright Band, Jake has performed at numerous festivals including Jam Cruise, Montreal Jazz Festival, Syracuse Jazz Festival, Rochester Lilac Festival, Arise Music Festival, Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, Grace Potter's Grand Point North, Frendly Gathering, Musik Fest, Rooster Walk, and Manifestivus, and has opened for such bands as The Doobie Brothers, Soulive, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, The Original Wailers, Lake Street Dive, The Motet 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, Mal Maiz, The Eames Brothers Band, Dave Grippo, Dark Side of the Mountain, Gabe Jarrett, George Petit, Paul Asbell, Bearquarium, The Vermont Jazz Center Big Band, Vermont Symphonic Winds, and The Crane Wind Ensemble.