Hochstein Alumni Portrait: Jimmie “Tjari” Highsmith, Jr.

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Hochstein Alumni Portrait: Jimmie “Tjari” Highsmith, Jr.

Jimmie, or as friends call him Tjari, was born September 18, 1967 in “Flower City” Rochester, NY. He began studying saxophone at Hochstein first with John Vitali at age 8 and later with Carl Pellito. He also took music theory and a few other jazz combo/improv classes, studying at Hochstein for a total of ten years. He pursued further studies at the Eastman School of Music, Delaware State University, and then jazz stages and clubs around the world. 

Critically acclaimed, Grammy-nominated and award-winning Saxophonist Jimmie Highsmith, Jr., has shared the stage with—and opened for—multiple Grammy Award winners including: Najee, Alicia Keys, Víctor and Joseph Wooten, Chris Botti, Grover Washington, Jr., and Wynton Marsalis just to name a few. 

June 1st was proclaimed by then Mayor Robert J. Duffy "Jimmie Highsmith Jr Day" in Rochester NY.


A Couple of Questions:


Can you share a couple of your memorable experiences from your time at Hochstein?

In the '70's and '80's it looked very different. It was much more open and a lot more wood—meaning a whole lot less carpeting. That was cool because I always enjoyed the sounds of the different instruments I would hear. I would have a hour break between my music theory class which was in the basement and my sax class on the 2nd floor. I would explore the whole building and just listen to all the music being offered to my young ears.

4. What do you take away from your Hochstein education? How does it contribute to your music education overall?

It is and always will be the foundation of my music—so many fond memories of my studies here. 



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