Darren Motamedy was born in 1959 in Los Angeles, California and is of Iranian and German French-Irish decent. It was not until 1968 while living in Taiwan that Motamedy first realized that he was intrigued with music. "One of my classmates offered to play his clarinet for our class during show and tell when I was in the fourth grade," Motamedy reminisces. "He squeaked and squawked, and captivated our entire class's attention with his song. I knew that I wanted to be able to one day play like him."
It was not until 1969 that Darren's family moved from Taiwan to Kent, Washington, a suburb of Seattle, that his dream of playing the clarinet would come true. Darren played in the school band and also studied privately. "I remember coming home from school everyday, practicing, practicing, practicing, while my friends were out playing football. At the time I wanted to be with them, however those hours of playing really set the foundation of basic skills that one needs to perform successfully."
Darren auditioned on his clarinet for his high school jazz band, "But my teacher gave me a choice which was to completely change my course as a musician." He said, "You can audition next year on the saxophone, or you cannot be in jazz band." "In hindsight, my director did me a huge favor," recalls Darren. He was able to continue his studies in symphonic band on the clarinet, and begin his venture into jazz. He started playing jazz with a 1920's silver "Holton" alto saxophone, one that he still owns and treasures to this day.
High school band and jazz ensemble were only part of Darren's musical education. "I joined a funk-rock band during my junior year and a whole new world of music and excitement were opened to me." Darren's extra-curricular bands continued throughout high school and into college.
Motamedy elected to focus his energy playing the saxophone, clarinet, and flute at Central Washington University, a school renowned for its extensive music department. He continued studying the clarinet with one of America's premier clarinetist's, "Raymond Wheeler," and continued to refine his jazz abilities with National Jazz Educator "John Moawad." "During this period of my life I was in every musical ensemble available. I played orchestra to pep band, symphonic wind ensemble to jazz band, super sax ensembles, private lessons, orchestra pit shows, basketball band, and chamber music, I did it all," exclaims Darren. Darren not only received the music departments prestigious "Presser Scholarship" but also graduated with a degree in Music Education. "I cherish the fact that I am able to inspire other students as my teachers inspired me" and "Musicians are always giving and this is just another avenue for me," Darren passionately explains.
Motamedy - musician, educator, composer, outdoorsman, continues to thrill audiences with his music. His first two CD's while leading, writing, and performing with his group Mottoretti have achieved national success. His current CD "Dangerously Close" is already receiving outstanding local accolades and tremendous airplay. His latest CD entitled Peace is a collection of Holiday Classics that received international airplay in 1995, and is slated to receive heavy radio play again in 1996.
Motamedy is currently composing two exciting new records due to be released in 1998. Album number five is another collection of funky compositions that feature an all live rhythm section of Seattle's finest jazz musicians. Album number six is an introspective look into my emotions. "Each composition reflects aspects of my life that I cherish," remarks Motamedy. Album number six entitled "For All Time" will feature the "Seattle Symphony Orchestra" as well as classical styling on the piano and guitar.
"I love to perform, I love to play the saxophone, and I thoroughly enjoy meeting new people and sharing my feelings with them," says Motamedy. "Each of my albums reflects a chapter in my life, and I am very anxious about getting on with the next exciting melody."
The Smooth Jazz genre is dominated by one instrument: the saxophone in all his variations. The protagonists are among others Nelson Rangell, Richard Elliot, David Sanborn, Derrick James, Steve Cole, Kirk Whalum, Najee, Dave Koz, Bryan Savage, Steve Finkle, Gerald Albright, Marion Meadows, Kenny G, Everette Harp, Grover Washington jr., Andy Snitzer, Walter Beasley, J. Spencer, George Howard, Art Porter, Jimmy Sommers, Mark Johnson, Boney James and I could write further names on and on. So it becomes comprehensible that it is not easy for an artist to become generally accepted in this genre as a sax player. Darren Motamedy has succeeded in reaching the peak.
He started playing jazz with a 1920's silver "Holton" alto saxophone, one that he still owns and treasures to this day. He focus his energy playing the tenor and soprano saxophone, clarinet, and flute. But as an universal musician he is familiar with synthesizers and percussion programmings too.
"It's all good ", the title of his fifth album, released in june of 1999, is a promise, that Darren keeps. Starter of the album is the title track beginning with a slow tempo melancholic sax play backed by a sensibly played in synthesizer arrangement and accompagnied by John Raymond's acoustic guitar.
Powerful synthesizer chords are leading in Darren's next sax melody Kickin'it. A midtempo track rhythmicaly touched by Mark Ivester's percussion.
Funky is Jazz Mecca, on which you can hear a duett between Bobby Medina on trumpet and Darren Motamedy on sax perfectly supported by Nick Manson on piano, Steve Hill on percussion and drums and John Raymond with a very funky approach on guitar.
This funky mood continues on the following Soft Serve. Remarkable the perfectly arranged interplay between Darren's sax and Raymond's guitar just as Douglas Barnett on bass.
Be mine is a romantic tune showcasing Darren's on sax, Raymond on acoustic guitar and Nick Manson on piano.
The Buzz Cut reveals Darren 's multiinstrumental talent on saxophone, flute and synthesizer programming.
I don't know, how often artists have covered Marvin Gaye 's What's goin on? Especially the Smooth Jazz saxophonists extremely appreciate this tune. For example Everette Harp released in 1997 What's Going On, a tribute to Marvin Gaye's classic 1971 album as part of Blue Note's cover series. A compelling solo artist in his own right, the guitarist Doc Powell received a Grammy nomination for his 1987 interpretation of the Marvin Gaye classic, "What's Goin' On." Marvin Gaye had fought hard to get Motown to release this title. It's an epic song cycle on which Marvin took total control and weaved his observations about inner city youth, the ecology, and race relations. Daren Motamedy 's cover version is a worthy addition in this long queue.
On All the love one can listen to Darnell Alexander's beautiful and romantic voice in a sentimental and smooth company of Darren's saxophone.
The Local Groove is a more uptempo follow-up, on which Daren shows anew his proficiency on the flute.
Sketches in blue is shaped by modern sythesizer samples on which Darren build up his masterfull sax solo.
Especially for those Smooth Jazz fellows, who appreciate a perfectly arranged and thought through album with sophisticated rhythms, this cd is an irresistible jewel.