Mike DiRubbo: “You’ve Got to Be True to Whatever It Is That You Hear”
Accompanying pianist. Copywriter.
This interview with accomplished jazz saxophonist Mike DiRubbo provides a comprehensive exploration of his musical journey, shedding light on the pivotal moments that shaped his career. DiRubbo traces his musical origins back to grade school, where his initial exposure to the saxophone, influenced by his father’s passion, set the stage for a lifelong commitment to the instrument. The narrative unfolds through DiRubbo’s progression from learning the clarinet to discovering the saxophone’s allure and ultimately pursuing formal education at the prestigious Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz.
The interview transitions to DiRubbo’s relocation to New York, detailing the organic connections and collaborations that propelled him into the city’s vibrant jazz scene. His experiences with notable musicians like Steve Davis and Jim Rotondi underscore the significance of networking and seizing opportunities. DiRubbo shares valuable advice for aspiring musicians, emphasizing the importance of perseverance, self-motivation, and a continuous commitment to honing one’s craft.
The discussion delves into the technical aspects of DiRubbo’s practice routine and instrument preferences. His emphasis on sound development, warm-up exercises, and the incorporation of classical influences into jazz training reflects a nuanced and disciplined approach to musical mastery. DiRubbo elucidates his choice of Yanagisawa saxophones, providing insights into his unique sound and the evolution of his equipment preferences.
The interview concludes with a deep dive into DiRubbo’s improvisational process, underlining the symbiotic relationship between technical proficiency and the ability to immerse oneself in the spontaneous and expressive nature of jazz. DiRubbo draws inspiration from jazz legends, classical composers, and his contemporaries, underscoring the multifaceted influences that inform his musical identity. Finally, he shares insights into his current projects, ensembles, and offers valuable advice for aspiring jazz saxophonists, encouraging them to explore their unique sound while staying motivated and open-minded.