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Jazz artist happy to help Thomson High

Between tours of Europe, Canada and the United States, Thomson native Chris Crenshaw is happy to take time to give back to the community.

He was on hand recently to help Thomson High School band director Jessie Morlan during the yearbook photo shoot.

"I just got back from France last Saturday night," Crenshaw said. "I got a call from Mr. Morlan asking if I'd come out and help and I said I'd be glad to help the band in any way I can. I also got to help with the band camp this year, and I had a good time working with the kids.

"They're an outstanding group of kids."

Crenshaw is a 2001 graduate of Thomson High. He went on to earn his bachelor's degree in jazz performance from Valdosta State University. He continued his studies at The Juilliard School, where he earned his master's degree in jazz studies. He joined the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 2006.

Crenshaw has toured extensively with Wynton Marsalis and was a featured performer at this year's Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival.

"I loved performing at Blind Willie," he said. "It was a real treat to be able to perform in Thomson."

Crenshaw has moved back here after living in New York for three years.

"I've been back in Thomson for about 21/2 years. I enjoy living in Thomson," Crenshaw said.

Despite his success and worldwide fame as a jazz musician, Crenshaw says he's more than happy to help the Thomson High School band.

"I'll leave the football half-time show to the kids. That's their thing and I don't want to take anything away from that," he said. "But I hope to be able to be in the bandstand during some games and help with organization. I have to travel a lot, but I told Mr. Morlan to give me a call any time there's anything I can do.

"And if he doesn't call me, I'll come around and stick my head in the window and tell him to use me."

Crenshaw has a CD and a DVD coming out Sept. 23, on which he performs with Marsalis and Eric Clapton.

"It will be in music stores, on iTunes,, and other places online. Be on the lookout for it," he said.

Web posted on Thursday, August 18, 2011

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