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Nathan quickly showed himself an adult in every conceivable way except the number on his birth certificate. In conversation, he revealed himself as assured yet humble, gracious and warm. And on the bandstand, he has an adult musical intelligence, which is to say he is not simply someone who has mastered the clarinet, that unfogiving hybrid of wood and metal, but he is a musician, creating phrases that make sense which become choruses with structure, energy, and personality. His solos are compact and satisfying; his ensemble playing is respectful yet inventive. The clarinet lends itself to shrill forays into its highest register, strings of notes where two would be so much more eloquent: Nathan avoids these excesses. The musicians who were meeting and hearing him for the first time were, shall we say, blown away.

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- Michael Steinman, JAZZ LIVES

......the sensational 15 year old Nathan Tokunaga gave new meaning to the words “child prodigy.” He knew all the arrangements and forms and when to have his clarinet soar above the featured melody while responding to the cues and signals given by the other musicians. He was at ease and somewhat flawless. Jeff Barnhart (see Jeff’s column “My Inspirations” on page six of TST January issue) described this young man with equally endearing adjectives and I expect to see and hear him many times in the coming years. Nathan played with a few other bands throughout the weekend. Both Marc and Howard had ear-to-ear grins while watching Nathan during his featured solos. I did too!

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Nathan is super-intelligent and loves old-time traditional jazz,” according to Clint [Baker]. “He’s a very special young man with a bright future.”

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I’m extremely passionate about New Orleans jazz, and I want to help the people who contribute to New Orleans culture as much as I can, especially since the situation they’re in is highly unjust.”

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Scot Center Interview

by Sydney Tao
Carlmont's Media Broadcasting Team



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