Kevin Kizer

"The term chamber jazz hasn’t enjoyed much currency in recent years – at least, not in its strictest original meaning. This lovely and adventurous album might just change that."
- Neil Tesser, Chicago News Cooperative

Saxophonist and composer Kevin Kizer first jumped into international visibility as a member of Ted Sirota’s Rebel Soul where he played, composed, and toured through several Ted’s CD’s. Taking some time to regroup and compose, Kevin resurfaces with his own release on Blujazz, “Aspects”. For this CD he has brought together two of his Rebel Soul band mates, guitarist Dave Miller and bassist Jake Vinsel along with his wife, violinist Katherine Hughes.

While a student at the University of Illinois, Champaign Kevin toured Europe with the Jazz Abroad Program led by Dick Dunscomb, a professor at Purdue University at the time. Dick Dunscomb is a past president of the International Association of Jazz Educators, and currently Chicago's Columbia College Music Department Chairman. Kevin toured internationally with the University of Illinois Jazz Band in Russia that included John Garvey and bassist/composer Chuck Israels, known for his work with the Bill Evans Trio. He has played with the memorial Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra led by trumpeter Lee Castlado and featuring drummer John Von Olen of Kenton fame. He has played in groups backing vocalists Wayne Newton and Johnny Mathis. He toured with the Tony Barron Orchestra with accordionist Myron Floren of Lawrence Welk fame and Ray McKinley, former Glen Miller drummer.

All of this history brought Kevin next to Chicago in November 1995 where he connected with drummer and leader Ted Sirota, guitarist Jeff Parker, and bassist Jeff Hill to form the Rebel Souls. Kevin wrote the compositions “Voids” and “Ornettish” for the Rebel Souls’ first CD on the Naim label called Rebel Roots. Bassist Noel Kupersmith replaced Jeff Hill and cornetist Rob Mazurek joined Ted Sirota’s Rebel Souls for the release of the second CD, Propaganda; which includes Kevin’s composition “Carolyn’s Blues”. For the release of the third CD, Ted Sirota’s Rebel Souls vs. the Forces of Evil, Kevin added clarinet to his recorded repertoire.

Kevin Kizer’s performance with classic big band orchestras, straight-ahead bebop groups, jumpin’ swing bands, rhythm and blues bands, his membership with modern free jazz Rebel Souls band and his own trio leadership represents his wide range of music styles and ability to play in multitudes of musical settings. He is proficient at playing the tenor and alto saxophones, clarinet and flute, at composing music, and at leading his own musical groups. His acute musical sense of listening and expression, using an innovative approach over a classic sound, is now helping to catapult him on the international jazz artist stage.