With the arrival of saxophone sensation Jessy J, the "smooth jazz" field just got a little more crowded.
Although the jazz world is calling Jessy J its latest arrival, the young tenor saxophonist and singer is anything but a newcomer.
Born Jessica Spinella to a Mexican father and American mother in Portland, Oregon, Jessy first learned to play piano at age four. When she moved with her family to California, she put her musical skills to the test, and won a statewide piano competition. Soon, Jessy discovered jazz and began playing the saxophone. She says jazz led to a better appreciation for all types of music.
"I've always been a jazz aficionado," she explains. "I've loved straight ahead [traditional jazz] music. I enjoy contemporary jazz. I even love classical music and even old-school Cuban charanga style music, Afro-Cuban; all of that stuff. I'm a fan of music."
Jessy earned the title "Most Outstanding Jazz Student" when she graduated from the University of Southern California. She performed with several notable jazz orchestras before going on tour in the Tony Award-winning musical, "Blast!" Gaining further recognition as a backup musician for pop stars Michael Bolton and Jessica Simpson, Jessy received glowing reviews for her debut album, "Tequila Moon."
Her new release, True Love, features the tune "Baila!," a tribute to one of Jessy's other passions, dance.
"I grew up dancing just for fun, dancing at parties," she notes. "A lot of the Latin culture has to do with food, music, drinks, dancing, all of that stuff. So, my family would always have these parties with the live bands, and they would come set up in the living room and make all this beautiful music all throughout the night. I remember my sister and I, and my cousins and everyone, would put on our fancy dresses with all the beading in it and we would dance, dance, dance all night long. It's always been a big part of my family's upbringing. I'd like to bring that to the table too. I want to be really true to what I have to offer and this is a fun little song."
Jessy is one of four soloists featured on the "Guitar and Saxes 2009" tour, alongside saxophonist Euge Groove, guitarist Jeff Golub, and keyboardist Jeff Lorber. In October, she will appear with her own band in London, England, followed by two concerts with Michael Bolton on one of London's most famous stages, Royal Albert Hall.