Exploring the Tucson Jazz Scene with Autumn Dominguez

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Century Room at the Congress Hotel is becoming a hub for jazz musicians in southern Arizona.

One of its rising stars is Autumn Dominguez.

“Well, I graduated from the University of Arizona, jazz program,” she shared. “Angelo Versace was my jazz teacher; he is a wonderful pianist. And my, one of my mentors Jason Carter, trumpeter. And my classic teacher Dr. Edward Goodman had a huge impact on my life.”

Dominguez credits her teachers for not only teaching her, but for giving her the boost she needed to get involved in the Tucson jazz scene.

I had really great classical and jazz teachers, and they pushed me, for sure.

And through my teachers and my peers, I kind of started meeting people from the Tucson scene and, yeah, I kind of inserted myself and started performing.

In addition to performing, she enjoys teaching students at the local Chicago music store.

“The music store in Chicago has a lot of people wanting to buy instruments for their kids, and so basically there’s a picture of me and the ‘saxophone teacher’ next to it, and a lot of kids are like ‘I want to learn jazz’ or ‘I want to do this'”, she explains. “I feel like I learn a lot about myself by teaching, especially children, because they teach me patience.”

She says her students’ enthusiasm is humbling.

They remind me of, like, that childish thing of enjoying life and, you know, not losing your childish love for music.

Maybe they kind of keep me in check with it because as an adult who pursues music, sometimes it can be hard to maintain passion and optimism.

Her new album “Sunflower Seeds” is a collection of compositions she wrote, including the title track inspired by the death of her great-grandfather.

“The main title ‘Sunflower Seeds’, I wrote for my great-grandfather because he loved Dill Pickle sunflower seeds,” Dominguez revealed. “So that’s why the song is called like that, pretty funny.”

This song describes the process she went through while recovering.

The lyrics are kind of about someone dying, how you grow, and your tears nourishing the earth.

Dominguez may also have the last known recording of jazz legend Lee Konitz. She met him in New York only a year before his death.

She includes it in her album.

Lee Konitz last known recording “West 86th Street” by Autumn Dominguez

‘Sunflower Seeds’ debuts next week.

Dominguez is organizing a release party at the Hôtel Congrès on Thursday May 12 at 7 p.m.

The Congress Hotel would normally host jazz artists inside its Century Room. However, it is planned outside in the plaza due to the expected size of the audience.

Tickets range from $10 to $15 and are available for purchase at EventBrite.com.

RELATED: The Century Room – Tucson’s Only Jazz Club Opens

Caleb Fernandez is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. Born and raised in Southern California, Caleb has always had an affinity for creative collaborations. After earning his bachelor’s degree in advertising/public relations at Pennsylvania State University, Caleb went straight to New York where he learned the necessities of production assistance, photography, and art direction. Share your story ideas and important issues with Caleb via email [email protected] or by connecting to LinkedIn, instagramand Twitter.

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