Jeremy Wendelin

Biography

Jeremy Wendelin is a brilliant saxophonist and a versatile musician who brings passion and artistry to every performance. Growing up in the Denver area, he began playing the alto saxophone at the age of 10, studying privately with several teachers and playing in ensembles both in and out of school. Within a few years, he began to win honors for his classical and jazz playing and expanded his studies to other instruments. Building on his early foundation, he studied with Robert Musser at the University of Puget Sound, and won the school’s Concerto/Aria Contest, performing Jacques Ibert’s Concertino da Camera. He also performed Paul Creston’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone with the University Wind Ensemble. As a jazz player, he shared the stage with many guest artists, including Ray Brown, Poncho Sanchez, T.S. Monk, and Art Farmer.

After earning his Master’s degree in Education, Jeremy returned to Colorado in 2000 and began to build a performing career. He put together a jazz quartet and started booking occasional gigs. At the same time, he joined the newly-formed Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra as their lead alto player and began playing with the Colorado Wind Ensemble. Local orchestras also began to hire Jeremy when a piece called for saxophone. His role with the incredibly versatile Spotlight Band (which still takes him around Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region) led him to develop his playing in rock, pop, and other styles. Calls for freelance gigs and private lessons began to fill out his calendar.

Playing for musical theater productions gave him the opportunity to hone his skills on flute and clarinet as well as saxophone. He began to fill in occasionally with groups like the Queen City Jazz Band and the Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra, eventually taking over the lead alto chair for the Ultraphonic. At the same time, he continued to work with his small jazz groups, leading trios and quartets at a number of venues in the Denver area, including Dazzle, Bliss Cafe, and Vintner’s Cellar in Golden. He also branched out on the classical side to lead a woodwind quintet using saxophone instead of the traditional French horn; he also founded the Confluence Saxophone Quartet, which has performed for concert series in the Denver area along with In Concert Westcliffe and the Bravo! Vail festival. As a classical soloist, Jeremy has given recitals and appeared on several Denver-area concert series. He has been featured as a soloist with the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra and the Evergreen Chamber Orchestra.

Around 2010, several new opportunities presented themselves. As a member of The Denver Horns, he became part of the annual Last Waltz Revisited, which takes place just before Thanksgiving in Boulder and Denver. Bassist Jimmy Trujillo made Jeremy part of a new group named after his KUVO radio show, Salsa con Jazz. The group performed at Colorado clubs and festivals, with occasional larger events, and added a new direction to Jeremy’s jazz playing. At about the same time, Jeremy became the clarinetist for Swing Je T’aime. This group’s blend of styles — Gypsy jazz, swing, classical, and others — has made it a favorite for concerts and events.

Recently, in addition to private teaching, more schools have asked Jeremy to work with their students, giving him a chance to influence new generations of musicians. He has continued to develop as a jazz player and was honored to give a Blind Tiger Concert for the Gift of Jazz, featuring the music of the great Sonny Rollins. After Jimmy Trujillo’s death in 2014, Jeremy organized a new, smaller ensemble called Moderno to continue playing music and exploring new directions in the Afro-Caribbean jazz tradition. His classical playing has continued, including performances with the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, along with occasional solo performances. His jazz quartet with pianist Bill Morse recently completed a residence at Denver’s Nocturne jazz club, performing the music of Dave Brubeck. Between leading his own groups, freelance playing, and teaching, Jeremy is always on the move — always working toward the next challenge and the next chance to make great music.