Wasted Potential, in a word, rules.
These guys are the reason I'm into jazz. They play in Manhattan, Ks and I
listened to them every week when I went to college there. I still drive up to hear
them and in my opinion, this is the pinnacle of jazz. The members are Bill McFarlane
on trumpet, Michael T. Brown on bass, Brian Brooks on drums, Betty "O" on
vocals, and Robert Roman on piano. They also feature guest artists such as Dennis
Wilson on trombone, Bill Harshbarger on reeds, and Jim Cann on trombone, amongst others.
I'll get more information as I learn. For now, here is an article on them from the KSU campus newspaper. Story by David
For the past two years, they have been
jazzing up Manhattan audiences by bringing their sounds to Aggieville on a weekly basis.
Manhattan's own Wasted Potential is keeping jazz alive here in the Little Apple. Every
Friday night at Auntie Mae's Parlor in Aggieville, the band entertains crowds of students,
community members and K-State faculty with three hours of various jazz styles.
Bill McFarlin, trumpet, said their musical styles stretch across the jazz spectrum.
"We play a broad range of music. We're steeped in the roots of bee-bop, but we also
branch out and perform numbers in Dixieland, swing and in a straight ahead jazz
Wasted Potential, formed four years ago, is used as an outlet for each member to vent
their musical talents, McFarlin said.
"We're not in the mode of trying to go for it or make it big. There's just no need to
do that. But that doesn't mean we don't consider ourselves professionals," McFarlin
Vocalist Betty'O Jones has had quite an extensive professional career, he said. A year and
a half ago her voice brought her a first-place finish on Showtime at the Apollo. She was
also the lead in the Asian tour of "Ain't Misbehavin'" and has had a couple hit
records in Europe.
Bill Lee, piano and executive director of the International Association of Jazz Educators,
said he has played with the likes of Charlie Parker, Gene Krupa and Jerry Mulligan. Lee
has written over 100 published books and compositions and has two doctorates in music.
Lee has also had an extensive academic career. He was the dean of music at Sam Houston
State University, the University of Texas at San Antonio and the executive vice president
and provost of the University of Miami. While at Miami, Lee was also responsible for the
hiring of Jimmy Johnson as coach of its football team, he said.
Rounding out the seven member group are Michael Brown on bass, Jim Cann on trombone, Bill
Harshbarger on saxes and Brian Brooks, senior in marketing, on drums.
Brooks said playing with such talented musicians proved to be rough in the beginning.
"I was completely intimidated at first, but they're great people and easy to get
along with. They're very supportive," Brooks said.
He also said that playing with Wasted Potential has done a great deal for him. Even though
he's a 10-year veteran on the trap set, he said he still learns a lot from the other
"When you play with people who have that much experience you can't help but feed off
them. You learn different approaches to the same stuff. It's almost a spiritual
thing," Brooks said.
Even though they take their music seriously, the band has yet to release a recording. Lee
said because of their careers, the one night each week they play is the only night they
can get together.
"Some people go bowling, we go bopping. There's the golfers, and we're the
goofers," Lee said.
Wasted Potential will be goofing for all ages at the Manhattan Center for the Arts,
Saturday at 8 p.m.