By Patricia Myers
Young alto saxophonist Alex Han, 20, has been booked for an international summer tour with two-time Grammy-winning electric bassist Marcus Miller.
The tour begins July 3 with the Istanbul Jazz Festival in Turkey and continues across Europe, including the Jazz a Juan festival in Antibes, France, and the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.,ending July 29. Prior to the tour, Han will perform with Terri Lyne Carrington and George Duke on June 8 at Chicago's Pearl Fest 2008. Early next year, he will perform with Miller on the first Playboy Jazz Cruise, Jan. 25-Feb. 1.
Currently a Berklee College of Music student on a Presidential Scholarship, Han said the experiences are helping him to learn a lot and grow a lot as a musician and a person. I'm really looking forward to meeting and playing with a lot of exciting players. I've got so many ideas I'd like to explore with other people who are as totally committed to becoming the best musician they can be as I am."
Growing up in Scottsdale, AZ, his interest in music started with playing the alto saxophone at age 8. By 12, he was one of two national recipients of VSA's Young Soloists Award and was invited by Grammy award-winning saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera to sit in with him for two nights during a Jazz at Lincoln Center" booking.
A year later, he was asked to perform at the 2001 Festival Internacional de Jazz de Lapataia in Punta del Este, Uruguay. By age 14, Han recorded his self-produced debut release, Fourteen," which received airplay from NPR and European jazz stations. That same year, he was a recipient of the 25th Annual DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards. At 15, he was selected as a semi-finalist for the White Foundation World Saxophone Competition (contestants were up to the age of 30) held at the 2003 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
At 17, Han won the 17th Annual Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition for saxophone, and was selected for an alto chair on the 2005 Monterey Jazz Festival Next Generation Orchestra. In May 2005, Han won another DownBeat Magazine Student Music Award. By the end of that year, he was selected for an alto chair on the 2006 Gibson-Baldwin Grammy Jazz Ensemble and, a few months later, won a 2006 ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer Award. At 18, Han signed with Rico Reeds (a division of J.D'Addario & Co.) as their youngest artist endorsee.
His performance credentials also include the Montreal Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival (Holland), Texas International Jazz Festival, Art Tatum Jazz Heritage Festival (Toledo), Twin Cities Hot Jazz Festival (Minneapolis), Hawaii International Jazz Festival, J& R Music World Jazz Festival, Caribbean Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center Alice Tully Hall, Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, The Blue Note and Sweet Rhythm.