JEFF “J” SPARKS
When it comes to fusing jazz music with smooth sounds of R&B, combined with hand clapping gospel, funk, and soul music, Jeff Sparks has mastered the technique. The result is a sound with mass appeal that brings listeners together regardless of age, color or creed that truly makes Sparks not only a standout musician but also a true crowd pleaser. His desire goes far beyond delivering basic entertainment - his objective is to keep his listeners in the palm of his hand and he does just that every time he picks up his sax.
Born and raised in Chicago – Jeff Sparks first took an interest in music at age 10. A graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, he learned his craft among some of the most talented and gifted musicians in the industry, like Cyrus Chestnut (piano), Walter Beasley (saxophone), Jeff Watts (drummer for Branford Marsalis), Lalah Hathaway and Freddie Fox (guitarist for Chaka Khan). Influenced by John Valentino - saxophonist for the R&B group The Whispers - Sparks developed a passion for entertaining crowds when just a young musician. That same passion continues to fuel his performances today and help to develop an instant and lasting connection with his audiences. Sparks has been utilizing his tremendous talent for the last 20 years to reach audiences where it counts—on a heart and soul level.
One of Sparks’ musical objectives is to deliver music that captures music lovers of all age groups and backgrounds and he has consistently proven, year after year, that he knows how to move a crowd. Throughout the years, music has undergone many changes, but Sparks continues to be at the forefront of the music scene, effortlessly and seamlessly blending contemporary and classical jazz with other popular music styles. He is known for transporting his listeners to a place that allows them to focus on the beauty of the moment, free from outside influences and distractions. Every note, melody and tempo soothes the mind and the soul.
"Being a promoter – it is important to have talent who realize the importance of audience interaction. Jeff knows how to make the audience experience memorable. He is definitely a crowd pleaser who knows how to engage his audience and get them up and out of their seats!"
"I have had the opportunity to work with many musicians and artists. I am very pleased to say my experience with saxophonist Jeff Sparks remains one of my most memorable."
Joe Cleveland, Managing Partner
The festival has evolved over the decades and is now billed as one of the country’s largest free jazz festivals.
Saxophonist Jeff Sparks is one of the musicians tuning up for his first performance at the event. He explains what fans can expect from him.
Jazz musician Jeff Sparks talks about his encounter with blues legend B.B. King, who died today at the age of 89. Sparks says King was a great influence on him musically. Photo credit Brenna Beech for WABE-FM
“Feel good. I make you feel good. I’ll grab a little traditional. I’ll grab a little funk. I mix it up because the average listener nowadays you have to look at a younger audience, but you also can’t forget about the older people, as well,” Sparks said during an interview
on a “A Closer Look.”
Sparks recounted a personal story involving B.B. King, the blues legend who passed
away Thursday. Sparks said King inspired him and that King's music had a significant influence on Spark's music.
“B.B. was the man who handed me my diploma when I graduated from Berklee College of Music back in '85, so that was a memorable moment for me.”
Sparks talked about jazz music, his personal history and he even played a little sax during his interview on “A Closer Look.”
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