“I was banging on pots and pans as a kid when my parents saw I was interested in it, so I started taking classes with Slam Stewart when I was about age 4,” Smith said. “I did that for a while and they took me to the Jazz Collective jam. When I went to my first jam session, Bruce Middle let me sit when I was 7 or 8 years old.
Sound Fusion is a jazz band with a local touch | Entertainment
Smith graduated from high school in 2020 and attended the New England Conservatory of Music. He plans to continue his musical studies at another school this fall. Earnhart attended the New England Conservatory, but as a euphonium performance specialist.
“Even though I’m at NEC for a classical performance degree, jazz, for me the essence of jazz is the ultimate outlet to create something truly authentic through improvisation, changing things with melody and harmony, ”Earnhart said. “Playing keyboard with the band gave me exactly that opportunity. “
At 29, Rodriguez is the oldest member of the group. He graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a Bachelor of Music and thanks his father for introducing him to Latin rhythms which he would later incorporate into his playing.
“My dad was a very musical person, even though he didn’t play any instrument,” Rodriguez said. “I grew up listening to a lot of Latin rock like Santana. So having that influence and hearing all these amazing bands, I knew I wanted to make music. I started out in a classical setting at first, just because I wanted to play bass and cello. In my freshman year of high school bass repertoire wasn’t much of a challenge, so I saw a challenge in jazz and fell in love as soon as I started playing. That being said, I used to play with the UMW Philharmonic and loved this repertoire, but now I feel more instinctive playing jazz.