Juan “Juanjamon” Montero visited The Admiral’s Own Band members last week and sparked the type of energy Farragut music teacher Gabe Whitney hopes will propel the band to greater heights this year and beyond.
“A lot of young musicians sometimes feel inhibited and they just need a pick-me-up,” said Whitney, who owns Noisemakers and sits on the board of Operation Coexist.
“This was a great way for the kids to interact with someone who plays music in different ways and has a passion for it.”
Montero, who commonly is referred to as “Juanjamon,” headlines The Juanjamon Band, a group he started that uses styles from funk, reggae, rock, and Latino. According to its website, The Juanjamon Band plays catchy Parliament and New Orleans-based funk while mixing in influences from Jimi Hendrix, Bootsy Collins, Bob Marley, Maceo Parker, Karl Denson, and Michael Brecker.
The band members take music class during the same period each day and Juanjamon spent a majority of the 45 minutes playing saxophone with the band, stopping periodically to discuss different nuances of making the most of an instrument. More importantly, he motivated them to play without any reservation.
“Juanjamon is incredible at every instrument, but due to his amazing ability on the sax and our numbers on the saxophone this year in class, I thought he would be a great fit,” Whitney said. “Having him come in and talk to the kids about what it takes to be in a high school band impacted them immediately. He gave them great instruction and helped them find a way to create a better tone for their notes. The best part, though, was watching them jam along with him.”
Whitney plans on having more guest musicians visit throughout the school year. Chris Walker, a lead guitarist of The Chris Walker Band who just finished a tour in Australia, is scheduled to visit in October.