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  • Writer's pictureJAM

Serving Our Country JAZZ

Trombonist, Kevin Cerovich is one of an elite group of young Kansas City musicians who have found their way in the world as professional musicians. Noted local educators, such as Clarence Smith, Kim Harrison of Shawnee Mission East High School, and the legendry drummer, Leon Brady, saw talent in Kevin at an early age. They helped him to hone his skills on trombone and at the drums. Mr. Brady also helped him learn to dress sharp, even when no one’s looking.

With an attitude like Kevin’s, it would be difficult to keep him down. He exudes positivity. He has gone in several musical directions and so far, he does not seem to have failed at any of them.

This has to do with attitude.

On this path - one door opens, and then another door opens because he continues to create new opportunities as others have continued to come his way.

While still in high school at Shawnee Mission East, Kevin tells of his desire to attend the late-night jam sessions at the Mutual Musician’s Foundation. As Kevin tells it, “I figured out a way to get my parents car and go by and pick up Andy McGhie.” This entailed ‘borrowing’ the car quietly, as his parents slept.

Even this level of shenanigans didn’t land Kevin in jail, get him grounded for a year, or end his musical career. It did get him and McGhie a chance to prove themselves at the Foundation. And then, a warning: “Come back when you’re both of age!”

Kevin’s response? “At least we got into the Foundation and got to blow.”

Like many of Kevin’s contemporaries, he tried his luck in New York City. He did a little couch surfing and landed a gig as drummer for pianist Eric Lewis. This turned into a European tour and a performance at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

Even with that kind of opportunity, Kevin moved on to something with more stability.

Eight years ago, he joined the Air Force and after 2 months of basic training, he was a member of the ‘Falconaires’, a military jazz band stationed in Colorado Springs. A year later Kevin was accepted into the ‘Airmen of Note’ and is now stationed in Washington, D.C.

He’s still playing it forward:

“Hey, this version of Duke Pearson’s, ‘Chant,’ (which I arranged) is from the Airmen of Note's 2020 Jazz Heritage Concert,” went a recent email from Kevin, “I figured it couldn't hurt to send you this!” The song features noted guitarist, Peter Bernstein and, yes, I have used it in my radio broadcasts. It is a wonderful arrangement.

On January 20th, 2021 the trombonist was honored, as he says, “to follow Joe Biden around all day.” As a part of the President’s roving Inaugural Ceremony, Kevin acted out the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Arlington National Cemetery. He has played at the White House and been a part of events at the Capitol. That is the job description for the members of the Airmen of Note.

Trombonist, Master Sargent Kevin Cerovich has a very good career going for himself. He and his wife, Jessica have 2 children and live in Virginia. Military service seems to suit Kevin. He could call his own shots in just about any musical setting, and I’ll be that he does just that—after he retires from one of the most coveted jobs in the music business.


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