Todd Wright ~ Jazz Saxophonist
An Ambassador of Jazz for western North Carolina, joined the Appalachian State University music faculty in 1990. As Director of Jazz Studies he has been responsible for conducting Jazz Ensembles I and II, teaching courses in jazz improvisation, jazz history, jazz piano, jazz tunes and coaching combos. He oversees the course of study for the Jazz Certification Program, and in 1993 created the university’s Jazz Vocal Ensemble. He has been the recipient of several university and community service awards, and was selected a winner of the Jazz Fellowship Award given by the North Carolina Arts Council. He teaches jazz at Cannon Music Camp (ASU) and has taught summer music camp at University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is a jazz clinician, adjudicator at festivals, works and performs with school jazz ensembles, and speaks on the history of jazz. He is an active jazz saxophonist. His Appalachian students have gone on to be active performers throughout the world. Along with the Unifour Jazz Ensemble he was chosen a winner of Downbeat Magazine’s Gold Award at Music Fest in Chicago and has performed at Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. In addition to jazz festival participation Wright has performed for corporate and national events such as the United Way and the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. He has blown the saxophone for presidents and vice-presidents. Performing at a celebration event on an airplane at 37,000 feet (May ’07) can be added to his credit! As a studio musician Wright can be heard on numerous projects of other recording artists. His own debut recording, Begonia, was released in 1995, and Christmas Time Is Here followed in 1998. In February 2001 Reflections, a duo collaboration with New York recording artist Frank Kimbrough at the piano, was released. Two new CD projects, a standards album and one consisting primarily of originals, will be available in the coming months. Todd has performed with international jazz greats Benny Golson, Clark Terry, Eddie Daniels, Wycliffe Gordon, Dr. Billy Taylor, Ingrid Jensen, Marcus Roberts Trio, Cyrus Chestnut, Allen Vizzutti and others. He has shared the bandstand with entertainers Joe Williams, Rita Moreno, the Fifth Dimension and Patti Page, and has opened for the world famous Dave Brubeck Quartet. He has performed internationally in the Caribbean, Mexico, Italy, France, Germany and Switzerland. He performs regularly with his jazz quartet and recently participated in jazz workshops in Freiburg, Germany.