David Morris (1968) Alto Saxophone
Ed. Note: David Morris was a member of the 1968 New Trier West High School Jazz Ensemble.
I was a member of the very first New Trier West Jazz Ensemble. I enjoyed every minute of my time there. The members of this band were the founders, of what became, a highly successful Jazz Ensemble Program. Because of the New Trier West Jazz Program, and its director, Roger Mills, I was introduced to a whole new world of jazz music. I started collecting big band albums from the likes of Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, and Stan Kenton.
I went to the University of Illinois in Champaign and continued playing my alto sax in the Marching Illini for three years. I also hosted a weekly jazz show on the student-run radio station, “Jazz & all that Jazz.”
U of I was fortunate to host the National College Jazz Festival while I was there. I was able to go backstage and interview Cannonball Adderley, Clark Terry, Quincy Jones, Herbie Mann, and Dizzy Gillespie. I could not believe it when the Buddy Rich band was later booked at a campus bar. Once again, I got backstage and did a lengthy interview with Buddy. All the artists cut promos for me to use in my show. Besides the Illinois Jazz Band, I also featured works by the North Texas State University Lab Bands and communicated regularly with its music director Leon Breeden.
Professionally, I spent 30 years in the television industry in advertising and program sales, working for Cox Communications and Walt Disney in Los Angeles and CBS in Baltimore. While in Baltimore, I donated my alto sax to a Baltimore Ravens player’s charity that provided musical instruments to underprivileged kids. I retired at 55 to Southwest Florida.
I saved practically anything related to the NTW Jazz Ensemble remember the 1968 concert featuring Jamey Aebersold along with the Chicagoland Stage Band Festival in Oaklawn.
I still have the first “plain wrap” album, and my brother Alan asked me to play “The Professor” while holding up the phone. But how come we could not go on a Mexico concert tour as he did?