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Airius Reeves

“Born and raised in Bloomington-Normal, I’ve had a passion for music for as long as I can remember.  My dad would spend Friday nights mixing on the turntables; filling the house with wondrous music from Motown to the Sounds of Blackness.  So naturally when the opportunity came around to pick up an instrument of my own, I jumped at the chance.” 

“Starting on the clarinet in the 5th grade I performed with every ensemble I could from concert bands to orchestras and even a clarinet choir or two.  Unfortunately for me, my band directors barred me from joining any of the jazz ensembles because “there are no clarinets in jazz…”  What a vicious lie to tell a kid eh?  Luckily for them I’m pretty stubborn.  So when they continued this charade into my high school years, I erm- appropriated… a tenor sax from the properties room and taught myself how to play so I could join their exclusive club.  By the next year we were winning competitions and setting a new standard with myself as a featured clarinet soloist; eventually leading to the creation of a jazz band for “non traditional” jazz instruments at my school.    You’re welcome.”

“As far as some of my musical achievements thus far, I’ve played in two of the three great concert halls here in the States including the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and Orchestra Hall here in Chicago where I was a featured soloist on clarinet.  I served as the first Black drum major in my high school marching band and led us to a higher placing in state finals than we had seen before.  My musical journey continued in college where I was a member of the Marching Illini as well as playing in several concert bands and jazz ensembles.  I became a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and served as Rush Chair bringing in one of the largest and strongest classes of prospective members.  I was a member of Sixth Street Brass band alongside Casey, which is a legacy band on campus that played all around Champaign-Urbana.” 

“I’ve played with published artists such as Flaccid, Formidable Foe, and most recently Jahari and The Hippies and even recorded a few tracks with some of the boys from those groups.  And now, as a founding member of the Cosmic Jaywalkers, I can say I have my own band with a published track I wrote myself (Moonrocks)!  And by our very nature, not even the terrestrial skies can limit us.”

“In terms of my musical influences, there are almost too many to list.  My contemporary inspirations include the likes of Masego, Jazmine Sullivan, Mac Miller, Noname, Kamasi Washington, Smino and Griz.  More “classic” inspirations include the likes of Luther Vandross, Dexter Gordon, Stevie Wonder, and Jennifer Holiday.  I’m generally just a fan of good music across all genres with the exception being Christian Rock. Not for the religious aspect mind you as I love gospel music, but because most of those songs sound like soulless  generic pop rock with Jesus lazily inserted into the lyrics for clout… but I digress.” 

If I’m not playing music you can typically find me gaming with my friends, showering my needy cat Loki with affection, or at a concert/music festival enjoying music from the other side of the stage.  Music is my life; one way or another.”