VanPort Jazz

Big Band Jazz

bill lutjens

Lead alto saxophone, flute, clarinet

 
 

I’ve played piano since I was 6 and sax and flute since 5th/6th grade. Got my first taste of jazz during  my high school years when I heard the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Performed at the Reno Jazz Festival with Burroughs High School from Ridgecrest, California. Attended Fresno State and played lead tenor in the “A” band from 1975-1981, performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1979. During and after college performed with Johnny Mathis, Stan Kenton, Bob Hope, Mel Torme, BJ Thomas, Melissa Manchester, Red Skelton, The Ice Capades and the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus. I’ve toured throughout the US and Europe with a variety of groups between 1979-1985.

 

Studied jazz improvisation and/or sax with Buddy Collette, Andy Macintosh, Gabe Baltazar, Warne Marsh, Art Pepper, and Charlie Shoemake.

 

Started teaching music at the K-8 level in the 80’s and played less. Lived and taught in California (Ridgecrest, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Fresno, ) Stopped playing entirely in the early 90’s with the arrival of my 3 children.

 

I recently retired from school teaching after 35 years in June of 2017 and bought a horn and started playing again. Didn’t realize what I had been missing until I got the opportunity to play with the VanPort Jazz band. I feel like a kid again!