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It’s very hard to find young musicians, especially who know Latin music,” says 15-year-old jazz pianist Chase Morrin. “Not only to find the skill necessary but the maturity. It has been my ongoing challenge. Sometimes, I prefer to play with adults, but age becomes an issue at places 21-and-over.”

A student at Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley, Morrin and his quintet, the Latin Connection, range in age from 15 to 17. “That’s been a problem, finding kids who are serious about jazz. Then, we have the problems of parents getting in our way at times — the stage-mom thing.

“The other problem I’ve had with kids at school is that they either totally respect me or they don’t want anything to do with me. I’ve had my share of jealousy for no reason. After playing with good players, it’s hard to play with average players.”

Morrin says even solo performances are hard to book. “I once had the opportunity to play piano at a restaurant in Point Loma. I never got to play there again because of technical liability issues [such as] under-age work hours.”

When booking the Latin Connection at private functions, Morrin says, “People are shocked at our price and try to talk us down; we often do it. Later, we get a huge tip because they’re shocked at how good we are.”

Morrin is hoping the band can perform April 3 and 4 at the Next Generation Monterey Jazz Festival in Northern California. “The director of the festival listened [to our demos] and invited us as guests, which basically puts our name on the T-shirt.… We’re going to do a lot of my original Latin jazz charts.

“We don’t get paid for the festival, so, to raise money, we’re putting on a fundraising concert at Dizzy’s on March 25. Hopefully, with enough people, we’ll be able to cover all travel and hotel fees.”

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KarenZain April 19, 2009 @ 10:18 a.m.

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