Connor Sample is a jazz drummer and composer based out of Phoenix, Arizona. His experience includes ten years of formal music education and six years as a professional musician working around the Phoenix area. Sample’s love for music began with the drums at the age of ten. Drummers such as John Bonham from Led Zeppelin, Neil Peart form Rush, and Danny Carey from Tool quickly became the biggest source of drumming inspiration for the early years of Connor’s life in music. At age twelve, Connor started playing piano as well as classical percussion repertoire and was acquainted with the music of composers such as Prokofiev, Debussy, and most notably Nebojsa Zivkovic, whose works for percussion ensemble evoked Sample’s interest in composition throughout his high school years. He first took an interest in jazz at the age of sixteen upon joining a jazz combo class at Paradise Valley Community College. There he began to draw inspiration from jazz composers such as Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland, and David Binney, who continue to be among Sample’s favorite composers. Moving forward, Connor was admitted to the Arizona State University Jazz Studies Department, where he is currently finishing his bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance under the mentorship of drummers Dom Moio and Lewis Nash. Connor can be seen performing regularly around the Phoenix area at venues such as the Nash, the Lost Leaf, Carly’s Bistro, and the Crescent Ballroom with a variety of jazz groups as well as the klezmer funk band, Jerusafunk, whom he has been playing with since 2015. Sample has also been a member of the Nash’s very own Nash Composers Coalition since 2016. He performed with musicians such as Wendell Kelly, Winston Byrd, and Bobby Brooks Wilson. Additionally, he performed in school ensembles with guest artists such as Cyrille Aimee, Jim McNeely, Dick Oats, Wayne Bergeron, Joel Frahm, and Joe Locke.
The Catch a Rising Star summer concert series features performances by young artists born in or based in Arizona. Curated by The Nash, the series provides a platform for these emerging artists to gain prominence in the jazz community. Catch a Rising Star is very much an educational program as well as a performance series. Those artists or groups selected to play in the series will be offered a free clinic by an experienced Arizona jazz educator in advance of their performance at The Nash.
Admission: $15, $5 Students (25 & Under w/ ID)