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Dead serious about the music

“My value as a teacher actually increased when people could see me onstage.”

Christopher Halliday - Image by Jon Naugle
Christopher Halliday

Christopher Hollyday is uniquely prepared to advise the upcoming generation of young jazz players. He earned the designation of “Young Lion” three different times before reaching the age of 21 back in Boston, where he was mentioned in the same breath as Wynton Marsalis and Marcus Roberts in the early 80s. He’s got mixed feelings on the experience.

“Looking back, there was too much talk about how young I was, you know ‘the youngest cat to play the Village Vanguard’ instead what I brought to the music. One thing we all had in common was being dead serious about the music.”

That seriousness led to a record contract with a major label (RCA Novus) and other niceties, but by 1992, Hollyday’s contract and options were narrowing.

“I had played on the road, I had played with the masters and I had made four albums as a leader, but I knew I wanted to shift gears and establish a career in music education. After I got my degree at Berklee, I figured I could start that career in San Diego just as easily, so I moved here in 1996.”

He taught band for 14 years in the North County before coming to an important revelation. “When a student would suddenly ‘get it’ that would be a priceless moment. But it took every minute of my time, and because of that, I wasn’t playing the saxophone, and eventually, as the years flew by, other educators convinced me that my value as a teacher actually increased when people could see me onstage.”

So he quit five years ago to teach privately and reenter the performance world. He’s at it five days a week seeking to impart some of the focus with which he approached life as a kid with perhaps a little more balance. “I didn’t do anything as a kid but listen to music and practice,” says Hollyday. “I barely got into college, because I had some pretty low grades . That’s very hard to do these days. I was blessed to grow up in a musical house. My dad and my brother were both musicians and we talked about jazz at the dinner table every night.”

Past Event

Bird on the Bay: Charlie Parker Tribute

Hollyday recently finished Telepathy, his first album in 25 years, and will be appearing with Charles McPherson and Gilbert Castellanos at Bird on the Bay, on August 9.

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Christopher Halliday - Image by Jon Naugle
Christopher Halliday

Christopher Hollyday is uniquely prepared to advise the upcoming generation of young jazz players. He earned the designation of “Young Lion” three different times before reaching the age of 21 back in Boston, where he was mentioned in the same breath as Wynton Marsalis and Marcus Roberts in the early 80s. He’s got mixed feelings on the experience.

“Looking back, there was too much talk about how young I was, you know ‘the youngest cat to play the Village Vanguard’ instead what I brought to the music. One thing we all had in common was being dead serious about the music.”

That seriousness led to a record contract with a major label (RCA Novus) and other niceties, but by 1992, Hollyday’s contract and options were narrowing.

“I had played on the road, I had played with the masters and I had made four albums as a leader, but I knew I wanted to shift gears and establish a career in music education. After I got my degree at Berklee, I figured I could start that career in San Diego just as easily, so I moved here in 1996.”

He taught band for 14 years in the North County before coming to an important revelation. “When a student would suddenly ‘get it’ that would be a priceless moment. But it took every minute of my time, and because of that, I wasn’t playing the saxophone, and eventually, as the years flew by, other educators convinced me that my value as a teacher actually increased when people could see me onstage.”

So he quit five years ago to teach privately and reenter the performance world. He’s at it five days a week seeking to impart some of the focus with which he approached life as a kid with perhaps a little more balance. “I didn’t do anything as a kid but listen to music and practice,” says Hollyday. “I barely got into college, because I had some pretty low grades . That’s very hard to do these days. I was blessed to grow up in a musical house. My dad and my brother were both musicians and we talked about jazz at the dinner table every night.”

Past Event

Bird on the Bay: Charlie Parker Tribute

Hollyday recently finished Telepathy, his first album in 25 years, and will be appearing with Charles McPherson and Gilbert Castellanos at Bird on the Bay, on August 9.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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