Rockledge saxophonist finds the right notes in retirement


After a long career, Fred Cavese is enjoying musical gigs in retirement.

Adam Palumbo

Rockledge resident Fred Cavese has found great joy in playing the saxophone following his retirement.

In fact, Cavese has found so much excitement in his new hobby that it has led to him playing about 60 performances in 2018 and in 2019.

“I just like to get out and perform for people,” said Cavese, 60.

That’s just what he will do Sept. 4 as he plays the saxophone at The Avenue Viera, during Senior Life’s Drive-Thru Senior Expo from 8 to 10 a.m.

What perhaps makes Cavese’s story so unique is that it is a culmination of sorts of a love of playing instruments that began when he was very young.

Cavese picked up his first musical instrument, an accordion, at age 5. He then began to play the clarinet at age 10 and the tenor saxophone at age 16.

But he put his days of playing instruments aside for a couple years before he pursued a career in the Air Force at age 25.

Cavese served as a logistics officer in the Air Force from 1985-1991, during which time he worked on a juris doctor degree at the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, CA that he eventually earned in 1992 after beginning studying there in 1988. He transitioned into serving in the reserves from 1991-1994, during which time he earned a one year specialty master’s degree in international law in 1993 from Notre Dame Law School.

After his retirement though, Cavese found that he was able to rediscover a long-lost love for playing music once again.

“I put it aside for many years and picked it up eight, nine years ago,” Cavese said.

He says he picked up playing the clarinet and tenor sax in 2011, and he played in ensembles in the St. Louis area for a couple of years or so until starting with individual performances. Cavese also picked up playing the soprano sax in 2013.

He also notes that the clarinet and many saxophones are closely related.

Eventually in 2016, Cavese and his wife, Debbie, ultimately decided to move to Florida.

They chose to move to Rockledge in 2016 after narrowing down their choices based on hurricane vulnerability. He humorously then went on to note how the couple were putting up hurricane shutters due to Hurricane Matthew three weeks after moving.

Cavese soon got back into playing the saxophone here.

Cavese added that he plays tunes from the classic, light and contemporary jazz genres, as well as swing music from the Big Band eras.

“One gig leads to another leads to another,” Cavese said. “…. I do think I get better with each gig. Each gig is a learning opportunity.”

Those interested in booking Cavese for a gig can do so by contacting him directly at or 757-303-0138. He also notes that video samples of his work can be found online at and through the Fred Cavese Music Facebook page.