Matt Vashlishan is a saxophonist and multi-woodwind instrumentalist from northeast Pennsylvania, USA. He holds a DMA from the University of Miami, MM from William Paterson University and a BM from the Eastman School of Music, all in saxophone performance. Matt served as the Jazz Program Coordinator and Curator of the Al Cohn Memorial Jazz Collection at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania from 2013 to 2023, the Jazz Ensemble Director at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, and Instructor of Jazz Saxophone at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.
Matt directs the Water Gap Jazz Orchestra (previously the Phil Woods COTA Festival Orchestra) in Delaware Water Gap, PA, which is a professional large jazz ensemble comprised of local and international professionals. In December of 2021, he directed the WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany performing "A Phil Woods Legacy."
He is a skilled instrumentalist with professional ability to perform on alto and soprano saxes, piccolo, flute, alto flute, clarinet, and the Akai EWI (electric wind instrument). He composes original music for small and large jazz ensembles as well as writing arrangements for these groups.
Matt endorses Selmer saxophones, Drake mouthpieces, D’Addario reeds and instrument cables, and BG France ligatures.
Sax Gadgets was created in 2018 by saxophonist Matt Vashlishan. Interested in many different activities besides music, Matt quickly found an interest in woodworking and immediately began experimenting with creating different types of saxophone plugs. He can best be described as an "equipment person" who is always interested in a new horn, mouthpiece, ligature, or any type of accessory. The original Selmer blackwood plugs are an inspiration for him, but Matt feels the color and new shapes of his exotic wooden end plugs add beauty and contrast to the metal saxophone body. In addition to end plugs, Sax Gadgets is the creator of the original variable weight neck screw, the Vari-Screw. Matt continues to experiment with various products that will enhance the saxophone playing experience. In addition to his own products, Sax Gadgets is alto a retailer for BG France products, which Matt has used exclusively for over a decade. Sax Gadgets' goal is to provide and make available at a reasonable price the representation of the accessories Matt uses and personally believes in, as they have been tested and proven in his real world experience.
Sax Plugs are obviously reminiscent of the old Selmer plugs that accompanied all the vintage horns. This concept remained un-tapped until Matt began experimenting with exotic woods and various designs in 2012 and still remain the very best quality completely hand-made end plugs on the market today. Matt's attention to detail shines through every plug made, and each plug gets the same attention and does not leave his shop until it is perfect under his discerning standards. These are far from a mass produced item!
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