Houston's 5 Best Weekend Events: Jazz Fest, the I-45 Killing Fields and More

Music took saxophonist Shelley Carrol from the Houston Boys Choir to Carnegie Hall. Along the way, Carrol, who's being featured in the 17th Annual Moores School of Music Jazz Festival on Friday and Saturday, spent some time at Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, with the University of North Texas's One O'Clock Lab Band and as a regular sideman with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and Sheryl Crow. While Carrol has toured the world, performing and recording with some of jazz music's best, he says returning to Houston, which he once called home, is a special treat.

"It means everything to me to come home, where I learned everything I know. My teachers are still here, and through the years, I've thought of all of them constantly. Dr. Bob Morgan, Horace Alexander Young, Marsha Frazier, Horace Grigsby and many others."

It was a Houston jazz legend who inspired Carrol the most -- Arnett Cobb. Cobb's the epitome of the "Texas tenor" sound, a loud, honking, electrifying style that has been given new life through Carrol and his contemporaries. Carrol, a master at phrasing, says he learned from Cobb both on and off the stage. Early in his career, he began performing with his childhood hero. "I was doing a gig and complaining about it a little to Arnett Cobb, and he said, 'Son, if you can make a living with the saxophone in your mouth, be happy because you doing okay!'"

The two-day music festival features Carrol and his band, the UH Jazz Orchestra and the Moores School Jazz Festival All Stars, a collection of veteran players led by director of jazz studies Noe Marmolejo, and two lunchtime music workshops.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. University of Houston, 4800 Calhoun. For information, call 713-743-3313 or visit Free to $17.

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Olivia Flores Alvarez