May 29, 2024

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Victor Goines is St. Louis’ new Jazz man: Video, Photos

At the helm of Jazz St. Louis. Take note, renowned jazz saxophonist and clarinetist Victor Goines is officially tuned into his role as Jazz St. Louis’ president and CEO. Monday, September 19 was his first day and he succeeded Gene Dobbs Bradford, who led the organization for 23 years.

“I was excited, I really didn’t have the words to express how excited I was,” said Goines.

Goines calls his role a great opportunity for him to be a part of the legacy of Jazz St. Louis and to help the organization continue to play its important role throughout the community.

He is quite familiar with the Jazz St. Louis location, it was part of his stomping ground as a young musician. He recalls performing there when it was at the Majestic Hotel.

“It’s always been an exciting club,” he said.

Goines became a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 1993 and has composed 200 original pieces. He has performed with many Jazz and R&B greats including Terence Blanchard, Bob Dylan, Dizzy Gillespie, Branford Marsalis, Diana Ross, and Stevie Wonder.

Goines was most recently the Director of Jazz Studies and Professor of Music at Northwestern University, where he served 14 years. Under his guidance, the Jazz Studies program at the Big Ten institution became a top international program.

He also served for seven years as Artistic Director of Jazz Studies at The Juilliard School, where he created the curriculum for The Juilliard Jazz Studies Program. He has served as Education Consultant to Jazz at Lincoln Center since 1995.

The New Orleans native was born for this job, being raised around music. Goines says he grew up listening to Jazz, R&B, and Top 40. As a child, he played the clarinet to help control his asthma.

He studied classical music in junior high school, but during high school he fell in love with Jazz. The talented musician says he heard a recording of John Coltrane and it blew his mind.

“I was like, wow that’s it, I want to do that,” he said.

He continued his studies in classical music but his interest in Jazz intensified. He frequented local jazz clubs to watch older musicians perform, and he says they embraced him and sometimes invited him on stage. He credits some of the things he learned as a composer, musician, and teacher to his mentor and close friend the late great Ellis Marsalis.

Victor Goines

Goines said his first big jazz gig was at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and he brought everything the greats had taught him on stage.

“I have a ton of lessons that I learned from [Marsalis] and I look forward to sharing them with the community here in St. Louis,” said Goines.

Goines says he wants the club to be recognized as an institution that is rich in history, one with national and international acclaim.

“It’s deserving of that type of world renowned recognition,” said Goines.

“I want everybody to come here, [St. Louis Jazz] has done a lot to become a hotbed for musicians to come through and perform in this club”

Musicians including Herbie Hancock and Brad Marsalis have performed there recently, and Regina Carter will be the opening act for the upcoming season.

Goines plans to show the liveliness of St. Louis through the club by bringing people in the Jazz community that otherwise might not visit.

“I want to show them that Jazz can be for everyone,” he said.

But Goines hasn’t entered his new role thinking he knows it all. He plans to collaborate his staff and build on the established legacy. This means also to listen to the St. Louis community.

“Together we can move the club forward,” he said.

“There are a lot of things here I don’t know about yet. I’m a student of Jazz St. Louis, which is great. I get to learn all over again.”

Victor Goines

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