Saxophone Summit: Matt Otto, David Valdez, Steve Lambert, and Ernest Melton
Matt Otto is currently the Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Kansas (KU) teaching Jazz Theory and Performance, Jazz Combo 1 and private lessons. Matt is also an Adjunct Professor at Rutgers University teaching online courses in jazz improvisation, theory and performance. Matt currently performs his original compositions with his Kansas City based septet with members Gerald Dunn on alto saxophone, Jeff Harshbarger on acoustic and electric bass, Shay Estes (vocals), TJ Martley on Piano/Keys, Mike Warren and/or Brian Steever on drums and Hermon Mehari on trumpet, as well as traveling several times per year to NYC and LA to perform and record with various jazz artists.
For the last thirty-five years David Valdez, an internationally recognized saxophonist, bandleader, and clinician, has performed at major jazz and music festivals in Canada, Europe, Japan, Mexico, India, and across the United States, with some of the biggest names in Jazz. He has released six CDs as a leader. His 2007 CD, Oasis, received radio airplay in 14 countries worldwide. In 2017, Valdez released a Chamber-Jazz CD, Shades of Happiness, on the ARC label.
Steve Lambert is originally from Sioux City, Ia. He moved to Kansas City in 2006 to study with saxophonist Bobby Watson. He has been active on the music scene in Kansas City for 13 years. He has appeared on numerous recordings as a sideman and studio musician in a variety of genres and settings. Steven has released four records as a leader, "Subject to Change" by the Steve Lambert Quartet (2010), " In the Moment," by the KC Sound Collective (2012), "Live", by the Steven Lambert Trio and Quartet, (2015) and "Seven Stories," in 2017.
Ernest Melton was born in Goldsboro, NC. He relocated to Kansas City, MO (his mother’s hometown) at age 10. Ernest picked up the saxophone the same year while enrolled in Longfellow Academy of the Arts in Kansas City, MO. Today he plays tenor saxophone in multiple Kansas City bands, citing Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Kenny Garrett and Pharoah Sanders as his major influences.