Saxophonist and "Golden Jazz" Host Joshua Escutia

Junior Joshua Escutia has got on a lot on his plate! This Music Education major seamlessly intertwines his passion for the saxophone with every aspect of his life. When he’s not playing for class, you can catch him on the sound waves as the host of “Golden Jazz” on Golden Eagle Radio (GER) or on stage with the Wiseguys Big Band. Even though he’s so busy, Josh won’t hesitate to say hello to you on campus and give you a big hug. Read on to find out about this musical sweetheart!

What made you choose Cal State LA?I originally chose CSULA because I had heard about their Nursing program and how great and rigorous it was. I was actually an Undecided w/ interest in Nursing before I became a Music major.

Tell us about your history playing saxophone! So I've been playing since 5th grade, but I didn't really get serious until the end of my senior year in high school. I had just started getting to know my repair guy, Bryan Whitaker, who saw potential in me and kinda helped guide me to where I am now. Especially with the Wiseguys, I'm grateful to him for that opportunity.

You're in many ensembles on campus. Which is your favorite one to play in?It's very hard to pick from that one. Both are jazz, but it's hard to choose between Lab Band and small combos. Lab Band teaches you how to be cohesive with a large group and a certain style, while small combos gives you freedom to do charts any way you want.

How did you get involved with the Wiseguys Big Band and how was touring with them? That all goes back to Bryan. It was the summer of graduation (2013) and he was telling me about this group, and that they were always looking for young, talented students to sub in for gigs. I had never done any big band groups before, and it had been awhile since I left the last group I was involved with so I was eager to play. Bryan brought me in to play the last couple of gigs in the summer, and I told him that I wanted in; he put in a word with the band leader and at the next rehearsal I was an official member. And over the course of a year, Bryan molded me so I could take his lead position and he could leave the group. So for about 2 years now, I've been playing lead and just working on my soloing with the band. It's a blast, to say the least.

What inspired you to start the "Golden Jazz?" "Golden Jazz" was initially a joke between the former chief sound engineer, Andres Zuniga, before I was involved in GER. I have this wierd voice range that can go from pretty low and resonant to high and nasally. I remember one time, I greeted him in a pretty low voice and was like, "Hey, wanna get jazzy?" He totally dug it and was telling me to start a jazz show. It was a little while before I knew he was serious, and it piqued my interest. So he got me a meeting with Sophia and Marcus, and the rest is there!

What's the hardest part about being a radio show host?Public Events. My schedule is not so conducive about me going to events. I have rehearsals scheduled during our meetings, so I can't make those a lot. I have lots of my core classes scheduled during most of the fundraisers, and now that I'm going to the Reno Jazz Festival with a couple of CSULA groups in a few weeks, our schedules get even more dense with rehearsals.

What's your favorite part about living in Los Angeles?The jazz scene. There's always a jam session going on. Whether you go and participate or just watch, you get to see this wide range of artists in your same craft, perfecting themselves. It's a process you get to be a part of because of living in a city that's super heavy on that night scene.

Where do you see yourself in five years?Teaching and finishing out a credential program that I plan to start immidiately after my undergrad. I teach now, so that way once I get my credentials and my Bachelors in Music, I don't have to sit around questioning what teaching method to use that day, etc, but rather call on experience to teach on the fly.