VOICES Notes and news on Contemporary Jazz releases
10 OCT 08 JONATHAN WIDRAN
Breakout artist of the year Jessy J's debut single "Tequila Moon" (free download) was #1 on the Radio & Records airplay chart for seven weeks. She's on tour with Guitars & Saxes and will headline shows all three weekends at the Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival. For her, it started simply enough. "I grew up listening to my dad's record collection that included traditional salsa like Eddie Palmieri, Tito Puente and Celia Cruz," she said.
A huge part of the Mexican-American musician's appeal stems from her exciting multi-cultural approach. Tequila Moon incorporates hot pop beats, jazz, Latin sensuality and samba rhythms. Her multitude of influences includes a broad spectrum of Concord family artists and one of her favorite albums is the catalog gem Thelonious Monk With John Coltrane, originally released in 1957.
"My parents used to have parties where traditional Mexican La Banda music flowed all night long," she explained. "When I started writing songs around 14-15, I noticed that my style had Latin styled chord progressions and romantic melodies. Earlier, when I picked up the sax around 9, my teacher turned me on to Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Cannonball Adderley, and later I got into Sergio Mendes, who like my other hero Herbie Hancock was progressive and unafraid to fuse different genres together. Growing up listening to pop, I was also inspired by soul legends like Prince and Stevie Wonder. And these days, I'm really into Justin Timberlake. These great artists broke new ground in their respective genres and they've all played crucial roles in my own development as a composer, musician and artist."