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 Kat Wright & The Indomitable Soul Band, The Jake Whitesell Trio/Quartet, The Darmouth Gospel Choir, Gua Gua, Pine Street Jazz, and Mal Maiz, while teaching privately and free-lancing 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 were featured prominently at the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival in 2013, 2014 and 2015. 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 Kat Wright & The Indomitable Soul Band, Jake has opened for The Doobie Brothers, Soulive, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, The Original Wailers, Lake Street Dive, and Rubblebucket, and performed at numerous festivals such as The Syracuse Jazz Festival, Rochester Lilac Festival, Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, Grace Potter's Grand Point North Festival, The Frendly Gathering and Manifestivus. The band has packed all the premier venues in their hometown of Burlington VT, including the Flynn Theater and Higher Ground. Since 2014, the band has been making it's mark touring in the Northeastern U.S. at venues such as Brooklyn Bowl (NYC), Johnny D's (Boston), and Portland House of Music (Portland, ME).
Jake has also performed in concert with The Temptations, John Pizzarelli, Ray Vega, Vorcza, Joey Leone's Chop Shop, Dennis Mackrel, Jeff Galindo, Eugene Uman, Scott Mullett, Guy DeVito, Craig Eastman, YankCelt, Afinque, The Vermont Jazz Center Big Band, Barika, Bearquarium, The Eames Brothers Band, Dave Grippo, Nick Cassarino, Vermont Symphonic Winds, The Crane Wind Ensemble, Dr. Burma, The Jake Whitesell/Andrew Moroz Sextet, Dark Side of the Mountain, Gabe Jarrett, Paul Asbell, Shane Hardiman, Left Ear Trio, and Electric Sorcery.