Jack Irby

baritone saxophonist based in
Washington, DC

Born in Richmond, Virginia, Jack picked up the saxophone at age 11 and has not put it down since. He started off playing the alto saxophone; however, as he progressed as a musician, Jack was drawn to the music of baritone saxophone masters Pepper Adams, Harry Carney, and Gerry Mulligan. He quickly fell in love with the baritone saxophone's deep, rich tone and made it his primary instrument. Jack earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in both music and mathematics from the University of Virginia, where he cultivated his passion for jazz music under the artistic mentorship of saxophonist Jeff Decker, trumpeter John D'earth, and guitarist Mike Rosensky. In 2016, Jack earned a Master of Music degree, with a jazz studies concentration, from George Mason University where he was privileged to further his study of the saxophone and jazz improvisation with saxophonists Dr. Tyler Kuebler and Jim Carroll and guitarist Dr. Shawn Purcell.

Jack currently resides in Washington, DC and performs all over Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia in settings including solo sets, small jazz ensembles, big bands, and funk and rock bands. He has performed as a part of the DC Funk Parade, the H Street Festival, Rosslyn Jazz Fest 2017, Asbury Park SuperFest 2017, Hill Fest 2017 and at prominent venues such as Twins, Blues Alley, and the Hylton Performing Arts Center. He can be heard on Grammy-nominated bluegrass and country group Dailey & Vincent’s 2015 album Alive! in Concert and as a featured soloist on the 2016 Mason Jazz CD Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Swing.

When he’s not performing, Jack maintains an active career as an educator. He is currently a woodwind instructor at Middle C Music in Washington, DC. Additionally, he served on the staff of the 2016 and 2017 National Jazz Workshops, led sectionals for high school marching bands, and taught music theory at the Sitar Arts Center in Washington, DC. Jack offers private saxophone lessons for students of all ages and abilities, and he is delighted to share his love of music with his pupils.

"[Jack] works unrelentingly on his technique and on the jazz language; he's always in the practice room." - John D'earth

lessons

My goal is to share my passion for music and dedication to practicing with my students so they can become their own best guides on their musical journey. I believe that practice is a fun and creative activity and I encourage my students to discover this by helping them internalize and create their own practice habits while finding the music hidden underneath the exercises. I teach students on all saxophones of all skill levels as well as beginning to intermediate flute and clarinet. When teaching a lesson, I focus on developing a strong techinal foundation on the instrument complemented by an emphasis on skills necessary for all musicians.

  • Music theory
  • Developing a practice routine
  • Improvisation
  • Ear training
  • Composition
  • Sight reading

Since March of 2020 I have been safely teaching my students via Zoom and Skype. Despite the challenges that come with technology, I am confident in the efficacy and benefit of these lessons. My hope is to return to in-person teaching as soon as it becomes safe and practical, but for now all of my teaching is virtual.

If you would like to contact me about scheduling a virtual lesson, sectional leading, or ensemble coaching please visit the contact section.

media

Be sure to check out and subscribe to my Facebook and YouTube pages for more media updates.

Thaxted

My take on Holst. The melody is taken from "Jupiter" with an original reharmonization. This piece was recorded for my graduate recital at George Mason University.

Beautiful Love

Here's "Beautiful Love" with my organ trio performing at Drift on 7th in Washington, DC (now, sadly, closed) as a part of the Shaw Music Series. Pretty good for being shot on my old iPhone 5!

The Chicken

The Too Damn Big Orchestra performing a classic Pee Wee Ellis tune at our regular gig at Flanagan's Harp & Fiddle in Bethesda, Maryland.

contact

If you want to contact me regarding booking, upcoming performances, or scheduling a virtual lesson please fill out the form below and I will be in touch!

calendar

Current circumstances require us to change the way we approach live performances--but we need music now more than ever. Please check back regularly as I find safe ways to share my music.