Kate and James Blakeslee won't need directions to the venue the next time they hear their professional-musician son perform.

The New York-based Sam Blakeslee Quintet will perform at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Clintonville Woman's Club, 3951 N. High St., where Kate Blakeslee heads the fundraising committee.

"It's convenient; we know where it is," she said.

Sam Blakeslee, 28, grew up in Clintonville and attended Columbus Alternative High School and the Fort Hayes Career Center. He went on to earn a bachelor's degree in jazz studies at Youngstown State University, followed by a master's degree in classical performance from the University of Akron.

Blakeslee was teaching music at Cuyahoga Community College when his wife, Alexandra, received an offer for a job in New York last year. He decided to see if he could make a go as a jazz musician and composer.

"A lot of it was, I was 28 and I had always wanted to move, but I was employed pretty much right out of school and that kept me in Ohio," Blakeslee said.

"The thing I love about my profession is while it takes some creativity to live well, I guess ... the other side of it is I wake up in the morning and have the ability to pursue anything in music that I want, which I am extremely grateful for."

Tickets for the performance are $10 for the show or $20 for admission and copy of his CD, "Selective Coverage," which came out in October.

Blakeslee said he was looking for a venue in his hometown and settled on the Clintonville Woman's Club after hearing Vaughn Wiester's Famous Jazz Orchestra perform there.

"The room sounds amazing," Blakeslee said. "I thought it would be good playing in the community I grew up in."

"I'm really thrilled about it," Kate Blakeslee said. "I think the club is a really great venue for music, for one thing, and he was looking for a venue that would be a good size for what he wanted to do."

Kate Blakeslee said her son exhibited a natural talent for music at a young age.

"I could tell early on," she said. "He started to play the piano when he was 6. He has always been very interested in music. He's played a number of instruments, but trombone is his favorite one."

"I'm not sure why," Sam Blakeslee said of the trombone, which he began playing while in the fourth grade. "I just gravitated to it. Most of the time, trombone players are just relegated to playing in a big band and that's it."

"He was an exceptional student," said Jeff McCargish, now in his 19th year teaching at Fort Hayes. "He performed on a lot of instruments, but it was in his senior year, as I recall, that he became really good at jazz and a very, very strong trombone player."

"I've always been a jazz fan," Kate Blakeslee said. "My husband, not so much, but he's coming around."

"While it may not be the most popular genre right now or for a while, in a live performance, if you're honest with what you're trying to present, it's positively received," Sam Blakeslee said. "When music yields a reaction, I think that's a very profound moment."

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1