Jay Right Now


by EC

I am sure lots of music aficionados know that Jay Rodriguez is a true pioneer of many great musical waves in NYC. But I bet few know the weight of his genius. It is not only what he has brought to the instruments he plays, to the groups he has performed with, to the many recordings… but also what he has added to the New York aesthetic.

I’ve been following Jay since in the early-’90s, when a friend of mine called me from New York (I was then living in Salvador da Bahia) to sing the praises of this “badass cat who can literally blow your mind away.” This friend was following the group Groove Collective everywhere they played and each concert was a reason for a call: “…you got to hear these cats.”

In his wonderful book “Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever,” journalist Will Hermes makes the case for those musicians who could give a ____ about genres, nationalities, styles or turfs. This is precisely the case of Jay, who creates without asking permission to no one, only to what he consume as an imaginative listener. “When music is good you just get hooked to it.”

Yesterday, as we were shooting these photos, I would drop a question here and there. Jay’s replies were a feast for any journalist interested in the smart details of music, in those stories that makes fans what they are: unconditional followers. This is so because jay is, above all, a true fan of MUSIC.

I can’t say Jay is an instrumentalist. Indeed, he is what Mingus imagine a musician should be: “You see a cat walking in and you don’t think of him for his instrument; you think of him as the music.”

“He could be breathy and insinuating on a ballad, brawny and extroverted in an uptempo….”

… Jon Pareles NY Times