For most people, college is a major turning point in their lives, a time to determine one's occupational destiny. Music fans everywhere can thank their lucky stars that jazz musician Karl Denson chose his wisely. At age 20, he put down a stethoscope and picked up the sax for good, switching from veterinary school to music composition while a student at Cal State Long Beach. \n"It just made sense," said Denson. At 7:30 p.m., he will bring his own blend of hypnotic jazz and infectious funk to the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave., in a Union Board-sponsored concert.\nIn 1980, the full-time saxophonist and part-time flautist finished college and began playing with acoustic jazz bands in Southern California. During the early '90s, he got a steady gig playing sax for pop musician Lenny Kravitz.\nAfter contributing solos to some of Kravitz's breakthrough albums, including Let Love Rule and Are You Gonna Go My Way?, Denson left Kravitz's band to develop his own style. He went on to record several jazz albums in Europe, and later packed clubs across the country with his groove band, The Greyboy Allstars. \nSince the late '90s, the horn player has created quite a stir on the jamband scene, fronting Karl Denson's Tiny Universe. According to Denson, he enjoys playing for a younger, livelier audience.\n"It's all about the energy," said Denson. "The crowd really feels it."\nLast summer, he gained a great deal of exposure as a part of the So Many Roads tour, on the bill with artists like Rusted Root, Ratdog and DJ Logic, who adds turntables to his newest release, Dance Lesson #2.\n"I didn't have any previous thoughts about what to expect from him, so I was really impressed," said senior Jean-Marie Ruiz, who saw Denson perform last summer at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. "It was really energy-packed and a lot of people got into it." \nOver the years, Denson has evolved as a musician and followed various trends in music, but the jazzman has never abandoned his roots. \n"I've got my jazz background, so I want to try and bring more of that out in the music," Denson said. "We want to get people to dance."\nHe has always tried to keep people moving with his music. For those who may have gained a few pounds over Thanksgiving break, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe will provide an ample opportunity to shave them off.\n"His show appeals to anyone who likes to move to a groove," said Union Board concerts director Andy Proctor, a senior. "You'll definitely get your money's worth, as typical shows go three hours or more. It will leave you exhausted."\nFor those people who still wonder why Denson didn't become a veterinarian, go see tonight's show. For those people who will graduate with a music degree and still need a little inspiration, here's some advice:\n"Write," Denson said emphatically. "Just write tunes. Write songs that you like and that fit into your own playing style. Getting on the radio isn't the 'be all end all.' Just as long as you're playing with your own purpose in mind"
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