The Persaud Combo keeps the spirit of jazz alive


Photo used with permission of Priya Rampersaud

Kai Custode, Brady Markin, Jaeden Persuad, Spencer Read, and William Read perform at the Craftworx Taproom in Gainesville on Feb. 20.

Gowri Potti, Staff Writer

Jazz has been a reflection of American culture and is widely considered to be the only truly original American art form since the early 20th century, according to The Smithsonian Institution. The Persaud Combo group at CHS is a musical jazz group that works to spread the cheer of jazz.

The five members in the group include trombonist senior Jaeden Persaud, bass player junior William Read, drummer junior Spencer Read, alto and baritone saxophone player junior Brady Markin and tenor saxophone player senior Kai Custode. They officially formed as a group after lockdown and have remained together for almost two years. All of the members were introduced to music at a young age and joined the jazz group at school to further their involvement in music. 

“I met the members and played with them and thought each of them brought something unique to the table,” Persaud said. “I suggested playing a song together and we just clicked from the beginning.” 

According to Persaud, when it comes to composing music, they find that freestyling is the best way to get their minds into a creative zone and produce new tunes. They typically meet up and play their own music to get the flow going. 

“We just bounce ideas off each other and experiment with different tunes until we find something we all agree on,”  William said. “ A lot of us do our own composing so we play some of our own music in front of the rest of the members for inspiration as well.”

Busy with their school and other activities, the group has a hard time finding opportunities to rehearse together and believe that communicating with each other is the biggest challenge. Sometimes the group has to improv on stage or rehearse right before a gig if they don’t get enough time. In order to coordinate, they have to put trust in each other’s abilities and listen to one another’s ideas, according to William.

“Even if we can’t get together as a group as much, we get a lot of time to practice individually,” William said. “Some of us will practice a few hours a day if we get time. When we play together, it isn’t hard to improvise because we know what the others like to do when we’re playing. It becomes more of a free flowing conversation using skills that we have built individually.”

Because two of the members, Persaud and Custode, are seniors, the plans for the group next year are still up in the air; however, they hope to play together as much as possible during college breaks. The seniors are unsure of their plans in college but hope to play gigs and join musical groups. The rest of the members will continue to play at the school annual talent show and will be working on finding opportunities locally. The location of the upcoming gigs can be found on their instagram page, @persaud_combo.

“We’ll all still play when they come back home, but it will definitely be different,” William said.” It will probably be a more fluid jazz scene where we play with others casually instead of having a solid group.”

All members feel that they have built a close bond over the past two years and have a casual and encouraging dynamic within the group. They amplify each other’s musical skills and motivate one another to become better musicians and people.

“Being in the group is amazing because it has taught me to be a good leader and a good musician,” Persaud said.” We push each other to be better people and our musical skills are enhanced when we play together.”