More than possibly any other form of American music, jazz is all about precision, timing, and chemistry. The best jazz musicians know how to play within the structure of the song, how to improvise while flowing with the rest of the ensemble, and they instinctively know when it is time to go completely off the cuff and drop a mind-blowing riff. Pickerington, Ohio native and renowned jazz Trombonist Sarah Morrow was 17 years old when she first witnessed the intricacies of jazz music at a concert put on by the Columbus Jazz Orchestra. That concert sparked a flame that would eventually carry Sarah around the globe and open up doors for her to work with some of the greatest musicians who have ever lived.
The first instrument that Sarah played was the clarinet, but she was 12 years old when the trombone “chose” her, as she puts it. She has a “scatty” style of play that distinguishes her from her peers. Perhaps that was what Ray Charles heard in 1995 when he put on two concerts with the Dayton Philharmonic, with whom trombonist Sarah Morrow had landed a gig for those two nights as the lead trombonist. Charles was so impressed that he was looking for the guy playing the jazz trombone, unaware that his guy was none other than Sarah Morrow. She began touring with Charles and was the first female instrumentalist to be in his orchestra.
Now, over twenty years later, Sarah Morrow is one of jazz music’s premier trombonists, male or female. She has played and toured with many greats such as organist Rhoda Scott, saxophone greats Pee Wee Ellis and Hal (Cornbread) Singer, and she has even funked it up with Bootsy Collins. She has also garnered great praise for her compositions which fuse jazz with hip hop and funk inspired elements. She is also a stalwart at jazz festivals and she regularly tours and performs with New Orleans boogie woogie legend, Dr. John.