At what point does the world’s background music become a musician’s foreground music? Or, more specifically, where does a life in smooth jazz begin?
For Tony Craddock Jr., a 30-year-old soprano saxophonist from Northern Virginia, it all starts more than two decades ago on an afternoon in the third grade when a thunderstorm suddenly came gnashing over the roof of his elementary school. Craddock wanted to know more about what a thunderstorm actually was, “so when I got home, I turned on the Weather Channel,” he says. “That pairing of smooth jazz and the weather . . . It created this synergy that stuck with me.”
Can you even imagine? Having your childhood wonderment over the mysterious elemental forces that shape life on this blue-green dot instantly fused with a style of music that most people associate with being put on hold while some customer service representative looks up an insurance policy number?
After that, Craddock’s story only gets more perfect. He took up the saxophone in sixth grade, and he continued to play with gusto through his college years at Cornell — where he eventually earned his B.S. in meteorology. After graduation, his parents helped him buy a soprano saxophone. He’s been thinking about the contact points between jazz and the weather ever since. And yes, Craddock still loves a gnarly thunderstorm, but, “my music is definitely more on the soothing side,” he says.
Show: Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. at City Winery, 1350 Okie St. NE. $25-$35.