Sharel Cassity May18A.jpg

Sharel Cassity

''My RS Berkeley Virtuoso saxophone produces a rich, singing tone that has clarity, power and depth. It's full bodied sound has an authority that cuts in a saxophone section while having the ability to express the most intimate ballad with ease. Crafted with vintage horns in mind, the Virtuoso combines great qualities of past horns with the comfort and dependability of modern horns. Power, beauty and excellent craftsmanship- what more could you want in a horn?''

 

Biography

While most girls were interested in playing with dolls at the tender age of eight, Sharel Cassity was begging for a saxophone. Thankfully, she received an old Conn alto for Christmas the following year, and as the saying goes, "the rest is history," because clearly she is developing into one of the most vibrant jazz saxophonists to come along in quite sometime. Cassity traveled extensively as a child and eventually settled in the Oklahoma City area for the majority of her adolescent years. It was in that city's diversity--it's Jazz history, Native American culture (a part of her lineage), nature and environment--that formed  indelible influences on the young musician.

Torn between jazz and classical music in high school, her decision was solidified when a friend gave her a mix tape of Count Basie's "Freckle Face," Miles' "E.S.P," and Cannonball Adderley's--At the Lighthouse--and as Cassity states, "I knew I had to play this music." After attending the University of Central Oklahoma's Jazz program on full scholarship, she performed in the small but musically rich Oklahoma jazz scene before relocating to New York City in 1999. After living two years in New York, Cassity earned a Scholarship to the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music to complete her BA, and it was there that she she studied with saxophonists Vincent Herring and Steve Wilson. In 2005 Cassity was awarded a full scholarship to the Juilliard Institute for Jazz Studies and completed her MA under the direction of saxophonist Victor Goines. It was there that she formed strong relationships with fellow classmates Michael Dease and Thomas Barber who also appeared on her first solo album, Just for You (DW Records, 2008).

Cassity articulates her mission statement: "I'm interested in using the history of blues, swing, bebop, post bop and contemporary jazz to reflect the sound of my generation and the time we are living. I strive to be a positive example and make a meaningful contribution to this art form." These contributions continue to materialize in a growing number of rewarding experiences: the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Jimmy Heath's Big Band, Roy Hargrove Big Band, Dizzy Gillespie All Star Sextet and All Star Big Band; small group work with Harry Whitaker, Ingrid Jensen, Mark Whitfield, and Michael Dease; recordings which include Jason Hainsworth Jazz Orchestra, Kaleidoscope (DW Records), Adam Birnbaum, Travels (Smalls, 2008), Fat Cat Big Band, Angels Praying for Freedom (Smalls, 2009) and Snow Road, by Tom Barber's Janus Block (DCleff Records, 2009). Cassity's sophomore release, Relentless (Jazz Legacy Productions), is a testament to her abilities as a performer, writer, and leader.

 

Instruments

VIRT1005G | Virtuoso Alto Saxophone, Gold Plated

AF201 | Professional Alto Flute, Silver Plated

 

Videos

Multi Instrumentalist Sharel Cassity Discusses RS Berkeley Instruments Includes performances with: Virtuoso Alto and Tenor Saxophones Volare Flute Alto Flute Bass Clarinet