Jazz is my adventure.

Thelonious Monk

This week, we’re taking you back behind the scenes to share a little more info about our Executive Director, trombonist, and author of our new “Listening” newsletter series – Dr. Scott Garlock!

Q&A: Scott Garlock

How long have you been with the CJO? 

I joined about 6 months after the band started in 1985 and played until I got a job teaching at a small college in Illinois in 1990. Missing family, musical pals and some beleaguered sports teams, I moved back home in 2003 and I’ve played ever since. I’ve had the rare opportunity to play every trombone chair (plus tuba) in the CJO. I’ve also been CJO’s Executive Director for 2 years now and served as our Managing Director for 2 years prior to that. And before that, I did our Social media/marketing and booking.

What is your favorite thing about the CJO?

So many things. The challenge that playing with such great musicians presents every gig. The chance to play unique and often very challenging music often with  guest artists that often breathe life into the band in unique ways.  And now, I get the chance to help this thing I’ve loved for 36 years be even bigger, bolder and better. And of course, the chance to mix and make with such great people in the Band, on the Board and our audiences.

What has been your favorite concert with the CJO? 

While in Illinois, I played a lot of gigs with a bass player named Earl Gately, who did extensive recording and published a number of MelBay “how to do” books on various things/types of music on guitar and bass. It didn’t matter if we were playing a Bop tune or Bad Bad Leroy Brown, Earl always said, “my favorite tune is the one I’m playing right now.” That stuck with me, and I really try to bring that mindset and energy to the bandstand out of respect for the music, the audience and mostly my fellow musicians. There’ve been so many incredible moments with this band, and many of the most important musical moments I’ve enjoyed have been in the company of the CJO.

Why did you choose the instrument that you play? 

I began life as a trumpet player, but braces made that hurt a bit. While in a weekly lesson with Bob Paolucci (Roland’s father, and former trombonist with the NBC Orchestra), he left me for a minute and I picked up his baritone. He rushed back into the room and said, ”this is what you will be doing now.” My Mom and I left the store that day with a trombone, and the world has suffered ever since.

What was your introduction to jazz?

We had an amazing program at my high school-we played out nearly every week, and in my senior year we played for the MidWest and MidEast Band and Orchestra Clinics, and I got to trade fours (and, I might add, rather awfully) with the incomparable Urbie Green.

What is your favorite jazz album?

That’s tough. Short list would include My Spanish Heart by Chick Corea; As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls by Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays; That’s How I Feel Right Now, a set of all-star performances of Monk tunes; Música de Sobrevivência by Egberto Gismonti; Sixteen Men Swinging by Count Basie; and pretty nearly everything by Miles Davis.

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

Another tough one. Jack Teagarden would be a blast if it’s yapping over a couple of beers. But I guess there’s any number of fallen heroes that could share their stories as events and the music was unfolding in front of them that would be incredible to learn from. Imagine talking to Monk or Coltrane or Ornette Coleman while they were changing the music forever. And, there’s any number of artists that could share what the Black experience is and was during our checkered history that I would love to learn from.

Why do you think jazz should be taught in schools? 

There’s so much research that categorically indicates the value of music education for lifetime happiness, intelligence, acclimating socially and in developing discipline. In some significant ways, jazz creates additional important opportunities. Performers of jazz must learn to interact much more spontaneously than their cronies in concert band or choir; they are also asked to concentrate on a great deal more.

What is another group you are part of? 

I am a music professor at Ashland University where I run the jazz program, teach low brass, music history, world music and occasionally some music education courses. I’m in Cleveland Pops with the two Paul’s, Jim, Jack, Rock and Tim Powell; The Dave Banks Big Band; and I’ve enjoyed playing for a number of Playhouse Square productions. We musicians are really so fortunate in that we get to wear so many hats musically and get to perform in so many different types of situations. I’d imagine that being a musician is the exact opposite of the traditional 9-5 job.

What is something people might not know about you?

I’d often rather watch a bad movie than a good one.

I trust humor more than most human emotions/activity.

If I had to do it all over again, I’d learn about 30 languages. Visiting places and doing it in English is perhaps only 30% of the possible experience.