The most recent Connect Canyons Podcast is about Utah jazz. Not THE Utah Jazz, mind you. The other jazz in Utah. More specifically, it’s about one of the elite jazz musicians and high school teachers in the state, Randal Clark of Corner Canyon High, who graciously shared his takes on the state of jazz in Utah, the importance of having students participate in performing arts, and details about his critically acclaimed debut album.
Speaking of basketball …
Over the years, a boisterous group of New Orleans basketball fans has chanted “There’s no jazz in Utah! There’s no jazz in Utah!” when the Utah Jazz were in Louisiana to play NOLA’s NBA team. It’s a humorous dig referring to how Utah kept the Jazz name after the franchise was relocated from New Orleans to Salt Lake City in 1979.
But if anyone could change the mind of that group, it’d be Clark. The Chargers’ instrumental music director is a renowned saxophone player, instructor, conductor, and clinician with a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Utah who’s helping the state’s jazz scene hit the right notes.
The music from his debut album “Imaginary World” is even being played on XM radio and available on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, and other digital audio streaming services. You can access his music, and more, at RandalClark.com.
“We have a pretty strong jazz scene in Utah, actually. It’s alive and well,” Clark said. “The musicians that are here are very strong. And the jazz education world is extremely strong here in Utah, too, thanks to the likes of Brigham Young University, the University of Utah, and some other colleges around who are really waving the flag for that.”
Clark’s waving a big jazz flag, too. (By the way, he is also Utah Jazz fan.)
Contemporary Fusion Reviews.com called his album “astounding contemporary jazz … that will thrill all true jazz lovers.” AllAboutJazz.com lauded his impressive debut: “Randal Clark is on the map, beginning his journey of melding fresh ideas with time-honored jazz traditions.” His name is also an entry in the Urban Dictionary. The description for Randal Clark: a “saxophone master and conductor extraordinaire.”
He’s won numerous awards, including the prestigious Sorensen Legacy Award for Outstanding Music Educator, the Utah Music Educators Association award for Outstanding Music Educator, the National Band Association Outstanding Band Educator award, the National Band Association award for Outstanding Jazz Educator and, most recently, the JazzSLC Musician of the Week.
Adding to that impressive list, Clark’s record has been submitted for consideration for Grammy Award nominations for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album and Best Improvised Solo.
Get jazzed! This podcast, which includes a sample of Clark’s music, is worth tuning into.