Saxophonist, vocalist and band leader
Jason Justice is a saxophone player, educator, and arts activist from Denver, CO. His long resume as a performer includes multiple styles as a musician and work as an actor in theater. During his studies at Metro State College he co-founded and managed the Jazz Celebration at Metro State, an educational jazz festival that brought numerous middle and high school bands together with local and national music professionals.
It was during his time managing the Jazz Celebration that he realized there was little representation at the Jazz Celebration from schools in the city of Denver. In response, Jason founded Instrumentos de la Libertad, or in English, Instruments of Freedom, a Denver based 501(c)(3) that brings music lessons and instruments to Denver kids free of charge. An ambitious program that Jason sees as vital to keeping the arts alive and creating music consumers of the future, Instrumentos de la Libertad has a simple plan to level the playing field for kids one student at a time.
Jason’s professional experience includes work with Diana Castro and the Big Time, Mondo Bizarro, the Catfish Kray Blues Band, The Queen City Jazz Band, the UCD Claim Jumpers Dixieland Jazz Band, as well as his own ensembles of straight-ahead jazz.
Jason is endorsed by RS Berkeley Instruments. He is an active saxophone teacher for learners of all ages and abilities, and his website is full of resources. Check out his website at www.jasonjustice.com.
Drummer Jason McDonough is a lifelong musician, having cut his percussion teeth early on in school bands. After high school graduation, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served two tours, performing in over 35 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa and for heads of state in the NATO band. He was stationed in New Orleans for four years, where he quickly caught the attention of the area’s music scene, even playing the main stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Jason has played with some of New Orleans’ music royalty, including jazz trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis,NOLA variety artist Dr. Bone and jazz/swing artist Johnny Angel. One of Jason’s fondest experiences was playing with the legendary Uncle Lionel Batiste, longstanding member of the Treme Brass Band and a founder of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Jason has studied with contemporary jazz luminary Johnny Vidacovich (Astral Project and Dr. John).
Gumbo le Funque maintains that Jason is the only drummer in Colorado that can actually play an authentic New Orleans street beat, but he’s also well versed in a myriad of styles, including reggae, West African poly-rhythmic forms and blues shuffle (if cajoled).
Dedicated, passionate, and innovative are three words that perfectly describe bassist Mario Pagliarulo. Born and raised in Naples, Italy, Mario has spent nearly two decades building a name for himself, with a career that spans the Atlantic and touches on almost every musical genre and style.
After building his reputation by gigging, touring and recording with some of the hottest independent artists in Los Angeles, Mario caught the attention of Serj Tankian, lead singer for the Grammy-winning, multi-platinum band, System Of A Down. Serj took Mario on board as the bassist for his backing band the FCC, and they spent 2008 – 2009 touring the U.S., Europe, and Australia in support of Serj’s highly-acclaimed solo album, Elect the Dead (Serjical Strike Records/ Reprise Records, 2007).
Onstage, Mario is magnetic and powerful, whose obvious love for his craft and for Gumbo le Funque’s music pulls the audience into the experience with him. As frontman Jason Justice quips, “Mario’s so funky because he’s from southern Italy.”