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Jay Rodriguez/WCS

“Your Sound”

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“All of You” from Your Sound Live from Dizzy’s

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Photo: #1(B&W),#2 (color, vertical shot),#3 (B&W, flute)

Press Release: From Suzi Reynolds, from Whaling City Sound

Publicity:  Digital JournalImprovijazzation NationMidwest Record, Jazz-Quad, New York Times ,Hamptons. to be featured in May’s JAZZIZ Magazine, JazzWeek

Kim Smith PR Email: ksmithpr@earthlink.net Phone: 917-349-8090

Management: Suzi Reynolds Associates Email: suzi@suzireynolds.com Phone: 201-947-0961

Radio: New World ‘n’ Jazz

19 weeks total
14 weeks on the charts
4 weeks top 20
Peak position #9

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Mixed Media Client since: 2018

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You might hear Jay Rodriguez and wonder, “Is there anything you can’t do?” The fact is, it might be tough to track down something along Jay’s musical continuum that he hasn’t done. A versatile bandleader, with flute, clarinet and saxophone chops, the Colombia-born, New York City-bred musician is profoundly talented and incredibly prolific. Since graduating from the New York School of Performing Arts and attending the New School of Jazz at its inception alongside Larry Goldings, Brad Mehldau and Roy Hargrove. He has had musical adventures in salsa with Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Paquito D’Rivera, pop/hip-hop with Prince, Guru, the Wu-Tang Clan, DJ Premier and Groove Collective, straight-ahead with Doc Cheatham, Mingus Big Band, David Murray, Craig Harris, Jason Miles and Miles Davis. He has played alongside Joe Lovano, Gil Evans, Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder, Bernie Worrell and Joan Osborne, to name a few. His original work is daring, groovy, breathtaking and soulful, sometimes all at once. His new recording, Your Sound: Live at Dizzy’s Club, captures all of lovely rawness in real time. Accompanied by Billy Harper on tenor sax, Larry Willis on piano. Eric Wheeler on bass, JT Lewis on drums and percussionist Billy Martin, Rodriguez frees himself up to showcase his work on saxes, flutes, and bass clarinet. The result is magical. Over his career, Rodriguez has tackled composition, arranging, accompanying, and leading. It is high time for the world to hear all the wonderful things Jay Rodriguez—musician, personality, iconoclast, and innovator—has to offer.

WBGO News Monday 2/19 to plug Jay Rodriguez’s album release with a track for Nate Chinen’s Take Five! Confirmed!
Jay Rodriguez will be featured in the “Keeping Live Jazz Alive” benefit taking place at the Southampton Arts Center on February 3 at 6pm.

 

Out to prove Grover Washington Jr. was more than just ‘smooth jazz’: Jason Miles Review on Philly.com

Out to prove Grover Washington Jr. was more than just ‘smooth jazz’: Jason Miles Review on Philly.com

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You can see the image of Grover Washington Jr. any day at the corner of Broad and Diamond streets, where he’s depicted, clad in a multicolored jacket and blowing his alto saxophone, on a wall-sized mural. His name graces an Olney middle school. The city that the late saxophonist called home for most of his life has done its part to honor him since his passing in 1999, but it’s still uncommon to hear his music played in its jazz clubs.

Jason Miles is trying to remedy that. On Thursday, the keyboardist, producer, and arranger will bring his tribute project “To Grover, With Love” to South, the first time he’s played this repertoire in a nightclub setting in the United States. Most recently, he performed the music at the Hollywood Bowl, opening for guitarist George Benson as part of the famed amphitheater’s “Smooth Summer Jazz” series.

Miles was still excited about the enthusiastic response his set received a few weeks later when we spoke, so he wasn’t about to complain about being lumped in as “smooth jazz.” He does take exception to the label, however, and insists that it can be blamed in large part for artists such as Washington being shunned in more mainstream jazz circles.

” ‘Smooth jazz’ was an embarrassing name for great musicians,” Miles says. “Everything was moving along fine when it was called ‘contemporary jazz,’ and artists like Pat Metheny, Weather Report, andFourplay were writing commercial songs but playing some serious music.

“Then all the labels started chasing Kenny G money and dumbed down the whole thing, so anybody that knew how to play a halfway decent melody could make a smooth-jazz record for the radio. Grover got caught in that crunch.”

Miles’ own career has long balanced the commercial with the virtuosic.

Through the late 1970s and ’80s he was an in-demand studio musician by day, best known for his synth programming on a series of Miles Davis albums, including Tutu and Amandla. He worked with an exhaustive list of hitmakers during that period, too, including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Herb Alpert, and Michael Brecker. By night, he’d make the rounds of New York’s then-thriving contemporary-jazz club scene, checking out rooms such as Bradley’s, Mikell’s, and Seventh Avenue South.

“You couldn’t do a club crawl in just one night, or maybe even two,” Miles reminisces. “There was so much happening, it was crazy. I’m trying to give people a lesson about what I was able to hear every night of the week in New York City when I was a young guy coming up.”

“To Grover, With Love,” then, is not just a tribute to an influential musician, but a recreation of a bygone era. “And Grover was the voice of that era,” Miles says.

Miles first encountered Washington’s music as a college student obsessed with what he calls “the buying-records routine.” Combing through the bins one day he came across Washington’s intense stare looking out from the cover of Inner City Blues , one of several soul-jazz classics he made with producer Creed Taylor. “I looked on the back and saw all my favorite musicians,” Miles recalls, listing credits that include bassist Ron Carter, keyboardist Bob James, guitarist Eric Gale, and organist Richard Tee.

That impulse buy began a deep fascination with Washington’s music.

“Grover put across such a vibe,” Miles says enthusiastically. “He had his own sound, and he was a virtuoso on four horns. When you put on some of those albums, there’s a bit of magic happening.” He later had the opportunity to work with the saxophonist on several occasions, beginning with the 1987 album Strawberry Moon .

Two years after Washington’s untimely death, Miles released the tribute album, To Grover, With Love, followed by a sequel in 2008.

More recently, he revived the concept in a live setting, recording a live album at Tokyo’s Blue Note club that was released earlier this year. The version of the band that he’ll bring to South this week includes bassist Gerald Veasley, who worked with Washington for several years, as well as saxophonist and Philly native Andy Snitzer.

The repertoire focuses mainly on Washington’s early years, including favorites such as “Winelight,” “Mr. Magic,” and “Just the Two of Us,” the saxophonist’s hit duet with Bill Withers.

“This era of contemporary jazz is funky and has that sound to it that really resonates with people,” Miles says. “We can’t let people forget where this music came from. Grover was one of its greatest proponents and a phenomenal musician.”

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