Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Lance Koonah never imagined that by joining the military he would have the opportunity to travel around the country and perform at several jazz festivals, including the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference (IAJE), the Northern Colorado Jazz Festival, the Piedmont Jazz Festival, and the Auraria Jazz Celebration Festival. Nor would he have dreamed he would have an opportunity to share the stage with both Diana Krall's bass player and the musician who composed the perennial jazz classic "Killer Joe."
Most of all, Lance would never have thought he would compose his own music and release it on a CD that was put together by his own efforts. His most recent independent release, "The Things That Make Us Happy," is currently being featured on several internet radio stations including Smooth Jazz and More, Cruisenjazz, WPMJ, Romance One Radio, and WCJZ World's Cool Jazz. One of the songs, "Smooth Imitation," has won several awards on GarageBand.com including a spotlight from winning the "Track of the Day" award. All of the original titles on his album are contemporary smooth jazz pieces that feature Lance on tenor saxophone and for the first time on soprano saxophone. His versatility on different instruments is partially due to his background.
While still in high school Lance Koonah was a regular soloist with the Hawaii Youth Symphony and was the first saxophonist to become a full time member of that orchestra. He then received a Bachelors degree in music performance from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY where he studied both jazz and classical literature and performed to sold out crowds with several ensembles including the Eastman New Jazz Ensemble and the Eastman Wind Ensemble.
The music from Lance's new CD was premiered during a self-booked Barnes and Noble tour and a series of public concerts for under-served communities which was made possible by a New York State-funded grant.
Lance Koonah currently resides in New York City where he is actively promoting his new CD. Proceeds from "The Things That Make Us Happy" will be donated to the National Foundation for Cancer Research.