I stole everything I heard, but mostly I stole from the horns.

Ella Fitzgerald

This week, we continue our behind-the-scenes look at the CJO with a conversation with saxophonist Bettyjeane Quimby!

Q & A with Bettyjeane Quimby

How long have you been with the CJO?

I have been involved with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra since 2014.


What is your favorite thing about performing with the CJO?

My favorite thing about performing with the CJO is being around such superb jazz musicians in the Cleveland area and making music with them.


What has been your favorite concert with the CJO? 

There have been so many memorable performances that I have had the opportunity of assisting with. Since I am relatively new to the organization, I cannot differentiate between these experiences.

What was your introduction to jazz?

I was introduced to Jazz as a young child when my mom was playing in combos and my dad played piano. I remember my mom taking me to hear McCoy Tyner at Nighttown as a 10-year-old, and also hearing Ken Peplowski on jazz clarinet. These were some very inspiring moments as a young musician.


Why did you choose the instrument(s) that you play? 

Honestly, because my parents had a clarinet at home. It just…fit I guess. Saxophone came about because I wanted to play in the middle school jazz band.

Who are your top musical influences?

My top musical influences, to name a few, are: Gerry Mulligan, Dexter Gordon, Leo Pelligrino, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Hall and Oates, Jamiroquai, and the Youngblood Brass Band.


What is your favorite jazz album? 

My favorite jazz album is A New Perspective by Donald Byrd because of its unique blend of jazz vocals and horns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NPchdtfP0Q&list=PLn8WMQrzp79j-DhFxWHj7kr5joorqFc7W


Why do you think jazz should be taught in schools? 

I believe Jazz should be taught in schools because it is a large part of American history. Also, so much of today’s music has derived from jazz history. It’s important to make these connections to the current music.

Which jazz musician would you most like to have a beer with, and why?  

I would like to have a beer with Ella Fitzgerald. She just seems like she has a huge personality and we would get along well. (Plus, I would love to scat some melodies back-and-forth.)


Tell us something interesting about you that others may not know. 

In my spare time, I love transferring Disney characters to my front window at home using liquid chalk markers. My sons usually choose the character, and I look at a photo online to replicate the characters.

What is another project you are working on?

Currently I am working on my husband’s Friday Night Blues Band album. He has invited me to play saxophone on a few tracks, and perhaps use some of my original music. My hope would be to eventually come up with my own creative project, when my schedule frees up.

Attention Northeast Ohio music directors & students!

The Lakeland Jazz Festival will be held on March 12 & 13, 2021, and in place of in-person, large-ensemble adjudication, all area middle & high school students are invited to submit an online improvised solo on the 12-bar blues in Bb concert.

This year, members of the CJO will be adjudicators for this event, and winners will receive a free online lesson with a CJO musician!

Don’t miss out!

Saturday, February 13th, catch the CJO Little Big Band for a Bop Stop livestream concert.
The show will feature trumpeter & bandleader Dominick Farinacci and percussionist Jamey Haddad!

Learn more