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Ruben Haugen - tenor sax & clarinet

Ruben Haugen - tenor sax & clarinet

July 1, 2013
Len took sax lessons from Ruben at St. Thomas University in St. Paul, several years ago, and they soon became good friends. Len asked Ruben to recommend a clarinetist who might like to sub for a Lazy Does It gig. Much to Len's surprise and delight, Ruben said "I'd love to do it." Ruben passed his audition and has been a regular on tenor sax ever since.

Ruben studied saxophone in Paris with the great Marcel Mule and then went on to become internationally renowned, in his own right, as a woodwind teacher. He has played professionally in nine decades, having started in vaudeville at the age of ten. In 2013, Ruben retired after 63 years of university-level teaching, at St. Thomas, U of MN, St. Olaf in Northfield, MN., and McPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, where a scholarship is named for him. In spite of his vast knowledge of instrumental technique, his greatest asset as a teacher is surely his warm, positive, and supportive personality. His students quickly learn that they have found a true friend and mentor, in Ruben.

Ruben remains active - both playing and teaching private lessons. His technique is incredible, but he never lets it get in the way. His eloquent and lyrical solos consistently leave the audiences and his band mates in awe. You'd think we'd get used to it!

Update July 15, 2017:
Ruben died last night, at the age of 94. It would be impossible to overstate the impact he had on the musical and personal lives of countless musicians in the Twin Cities. Had I not received his guidance and reinforcement, I would not be performing jazz today. His warm, friendly encouragement helped me overcome my performance anxiety by convincing me that what I had to offer had value, in spite of not being perfect. Ruben was one of the most important and influential people I've ever known. I miss him greatly.

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