Jazz is one of the most vibrant and transcendent forms of music known to man. As one of the earliest forms of American music, jazz has also given birth to other genres of music such as R&B, rock and roll, and hip hop to name a few. Maybe it was the transcendence of jazz that first captured the heart of the elite jazz trombonist, Sarah Morrow.
Morrow, a native of Pickerington, Ohio, began her foray into music at a young age when she began playing the clarinet. At twelve years old, she became entranced by the trombone. However, it wasn’t until she was 17 and saw the Columbus Jazz Orchestra perform that she became interested in jazz music, but that concert sparked in Sarah a love for jazz music that would never die.
Upon graduation from the University of Ohio, trombonist Sarah Morrow began playing with local jazz ensembles. Her career would get a turbo boost in 1995 when she landed a two performance gig with the Dayton Philharmonic, whose guest performer for the concert series was Ray Charles. Charles was so impressed with Sarah’s play that he had to know who the guy playing the jazz trombone was. Charles, of course being blind, had no idea that his jazz trombonist was, as Sarah Morrow put it in her own words, “a young white girl”. Two days after that concert, Morrow found herself in L.A. with Ray Charles as the first ever female instrumentalist to be a part of his orchestra.
It has been over 20 years since Sarah Morrow burst on to the international jazz scene, and her play has continued to set her apart. Former trombonist for John Coltrane, Curtis Fuller, has gone so far as to call her the “new voice of this generation”. One thing is for sure, the jazz world is grateful to Ray Charles for finding “the young white girl” playing the jazz trombone.