True Love. With these two perfectly chosen words, Jessy J has, in unveiling the title of her second Peak Records release, captured the blazing emotions of her legions of fans across the U.S. and Latin America who made her the breakout genre star of 2008.
With her sizzling mix of hot beats, Latin and samba rhythms, instantly captivating melodies, and model looks, this Mexican American saxophonist/singer proved quite the sensation with her debut CD Tequila Moon, earning her such accolades as Radio and Records "Debut Artist of The Year" and contemporary jazz song of the year by R&R and Billboard for the title track, which stayed perched at #1 for an incredible eight weeks. Adding to the multi-talented artist´s rising star was her cover story in Jazziz Magazine, features in People Espanol, and JazzTimes, to name a few, plus numerous television appearances and radio interviews.
Produced by mega contemporary and urban jazz hitmaker, musician/guitarist and labelmate Paul Brown, (who also produced Tequila Moon), one of the most remarkable aspects of True Love is Jessy´s ongoing commitment to her development as an artist and composer on her own terms. Backed on most tracks by Brown, keyboardist Gregg Karukas, bassist Roberto Vally, drummer Sergio Gonzalez and percussionist Richie Gajate Garcia, she puts her unique, multi-cultural stamp on an 10 track mix of vocals and instrumentals that draws from her rich Latin heritage and love for both traditional and contemporary jazz.
Jessy´s soul-bearing search for True Love blossoms into a full on concept that tells a playfully romantic story from start to finish. The sensual and exotic, soundscape kissed "Tropical Rain" forest may be the ideal location to meet that special person and have a sizzling affair that you think, in your state of euphoria, might just last "Forever" (whose sense of peace is conveyed through a dreamy chill and laid back funk vibe). But just when you think you´ve met your "True Love" (a balmy bolero in which Jessy turns on her seductive and swinging jazz charms), he shows his edgy, rebellious and flirtatious side (the retro soul, Michael Jackson, Prince and Santana influenced "Mr. Prince") and you wonder if he´s mature enough to go the distance.
Originally the title track for the 1959 Portuguese language film Orfeu Negro, and later popularized in English by Frank Sinatra as "A Day In the Life Of A Fool," "Morning of the Carnival from Black Orpheus" (aka "Manha De Carnival") not only finds Jessy capturing the cool essence of Astrud Gilberto but also paints an exciting, bustling scene where your lover is looking for you amidst the thousands of patrons. Only you´re not there. In fact, your spirit is miles away, lost "Somewhere in A Dream," a balmy, ethereal tune whose melody, like the musings of the heart, goes round and round. After a few sleepless nights (conveyed via Jessy´s soaring sax melody and straight ahead meets old school soul jazz rhythms of "Jessy´s Blues"), you embrace the future with a refreshed outlook and find an even deeper, truer love on "Llegaste Tu" ("You arrived"), an anthemic, richly percussive Spanish pop-folk anthem composed by Jessy with top Latin producer Pablo Aguirre and Paulina Aguirre. The elegant "Brazilian Dance" features a lush, soulful sax-voice duet between Jessy and the tune´s composer Sergio Aranda. No Jessy J project would be complete without a track that celebrates her Mexican-American roots. With its swirl of flute, guitar, piano and fiery vocal textures, "Baila!" makes it easy to respond to its command to get up and dance.
Jessy has also been making urban jazz fans across the U.S. "Baila" up a storm these past two years as a featured performer with genre greats Gerald Albright, Peter White, Jeff Lorber, Euge Groove and Jeff Golub on the popular 2008-2009 editions of the all-star Guitars and Saxes tours. She has also headlined with her own band several times at the Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival and at such events as the City of Lights Jazz and Rhythm & Blues Festival in Las Vegas and the 98.1 Anniversary Gaslamp Festival in San Diego. This burgeoning slate of shows complements Jessy´s extensive schedule in the pop and Latin music worlds, where she continues to tour as saxophonist and backing vocalist for pop great Michael Bolton and has played extensively with two of Mexico´s most popular artists, Gloria Trevi (aka "The Madonna of Mexico") and Armando Manzanero (whom Jessy calls "the Mancini of Mexico").
"My favorite part of playing live is connecting with the audience, as if everyone listening is my friend who I´ve invited over for a barbecue at my house or an intimate show in my living room," says Jessy. "Sharing music is a way to create long term relationships with people, and by playing my songs from the heart, I feel like I´m opening a window to my soul and there´s nothing to hide. It´s always been a very special experience as a side person, but the bonds are even greater now that I´m a solo artist performing my own songs. The true joy of playing with Guitars and Saxes is learning from all these great artists and rising to the challenges that come from working with musicians of this caliber."
The Portland, Oregon born, Hemet, California raised performer draws her inspiration naturally from several unique musical wellsprings. Growing up, her Mexican born father and mother, a native of Texas, had parties at their house where festive, live Latin music—including the La Banda music of her dad´s home country--flowed all night long. She was a huge fan of Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane, but also loved pop. So when she turned pro after graduating from USC with a degree in jazz studies—she was named "Most Outstanding Jazz Student" of her class--she jumped quickly into recording sessions with artists like Michael Buble and toured with The Temptations (2005-6) and Jessica Simpson.
A true musical prodigy, Jessy J began playing piano at age four and spent most of her childhood as a competitive artist, performing at major conferences, competitions and festivals. These childhood experiences and the discipline and work ethic she gained from them would prove to be a great testing ground for her future career in the industry. Even while working post-USC with so many exciting pop and Latin artists, she was putting together her own band, performing at such L.A. hotspots as The Jazz Bakery and, through her work with the Henry Mancini Institute and Orchestra, performing at numerous official functions and private parties.
In 2004, Jessy joined the cast of the off-Broadway show Blast! and drew on her multitude of skills as an actress, singer, dancer and sax player as she performed throughout the U.S., in London and Tokyo. It was during this time that she started to have a strong desire to write and perform more of her own music. Once she got off the road, her friend, drummer Jamie Tate—a fellow clinician with the Thelonius Monk Jazz Institute—invited her to check out his gig with smooth jazz star Mindi Abair at the Newport Beach Jazz Festival, which further inspired Jessy to go after the dream she is now at last fulfilling with Tequila Moon.
The Spanish-speaking saxophonist is also heavily involved in music programs connected with the Hispanic community, performing over the years with the Hispanic Musician Association Orchestra. In 2006, Jessy had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall as part of the Latin Jazz Project put together by one of her true sax heroes, Paquito D´Rivera; the program involved D´Rivera mentoring a group of professional musicians under 30 in a workshop setting that led to the performance.
"After the success of Tequila Moon, it was inevitable that many fans would ask me, ok, so what´s next? Where do you go from #1?" says Jessy. "But I never really worried about that pressure because I knew my approach would be to simply dig deeper into my essence as a person, songwriter and musician. My goal was to convey my True Love by putting 100 percent of my heart and soul into every note, every session and every song. As the journey of this new album unfolded, I discovered something amazing, a little secret I will now share: after all this romantic searching, I realize now that my True Love is actually my lifelong passion for music. It´s a joy and an honor to have the opportunity to share more and more of this with the world as the years unfold."
The music was beautiful under the Tequila Moon. Stay there a while and like Jessy, you may just discover your True Love!
Features the #1 song of the Year "Tequila Moon"
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