The genre of contemporary jazz has taken many forms over the years, but its loyal fans have always stayed true to its roots. Lebron is one of those fans. It's only appropriate then that his style as an artist showcases the facets of smooth jazz that listeners love. Lebron was born into a family of musical talent, including his father who played the saxophone professionally as a way to pay for college. In other words, it's in his blood. Like most kids his age, he was exposed to popular instruments very early on, taking piano and guitar lessons for many years. But it wasn't until later that he would discover his true passion and voice in the saxophone.
He recalls, "I went to an Earl Klugh concert with my mom when I was 12 years old, really on accident because my dad had the tickets but couldn't make it that night, so I went. The sax player in his band blew me away, and I knew right then and there that's what I wanted to do. The way he expressed himself and the reaction he got from the audience. I was hooked." That may be an understatement. A true obsession was formed, and the next day Lebron grabbed an old tenor saxophone from his dad's closet and started teaching himself. He continues, "I had to show my parents I was serious about this". Needless to say he excelled quickly, and was soon playing at a level equal to his peers who began playing years earlier. Eventually, Lebron began studying with some of the most prestigious players in Arizona, namely the lead alto player for Frank Sinatra's band, Hugh Lovelady. This led to him being selected, by audition, to lead some of the top young jazz players in the state in the Young Sounds of Arizona big band by age 15. Since then, Lebron has continued to grow as a musician and drawn influences from many sources to help him develop his unique style. "Honestly, my main musical influences were singers" he admits. Artists such as Wanya Morris, Brian McKnight, Phil Perry and Will Downing all influenced his way of phrasing, expression, and soloing. Not to mention his saxophone influences, including Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum, Everette Harp, Grover Washington Jr, and Boney James. To date, he has shared the stage with many of the genres modern icons, including Kirk Whalum, George Benson, and Grammy winning bass player Mel Brown.
So how does Lebron describe his playing? He sums it up in one word, "Sound. It's all about the sound." What a gorgeous sound it is, as if mixing the emotion of an old soul with the refinement of a virtuoso. He adds, "To me, it's never been about playing a bunch of notes as fast as I can or being too technically complex. Sometimes all that's needed is the RIGHT note. I'm a strong believer that you can say more musically with less, just as long as it sounds vocal.” There’s no doubt that Lebron plays in a way that closely mimics the human voice. The saxophone by nature copies the tonality, pitches and bends that only the vocal cords can produce. It seems only natural then, that an artist such as Lebron would use this tool as a weapon for touching lives. He delivers emotional performances that leave his audiences feeling exactly what he wants them to feel. He explains, "I want people to leave my shows feeling better than they did before they arrived. If I play a love song, I want them to feel the love. If I cry through my horn, I want them to cry with me." Yes, the purpose of art is to emote a physical response deep down inside. While this response is different for everyone, it’s presence is undeniable. Music is such an art, and Lebron is one of it’s finest mediums.