Jessy J stresses sax appealWritten by Katherine Timpf | | firstname.lastname@example.org
At Toledo’s June 14 Art Tatum Jazz Heritage Festival Guitars and Saxes concert, Jessy J will be the only female and the only Latin performer.
Jessy, whose given name is Jessica Spinella, said this is the case for most of her jazz shows, and she has become used to it.
“Every now and then they’ll tease me for being a girl, like for going shopping or something,” Jessy said of her Guitars and Saxes co-performers. “I like being around all different kinds of people. I just go with the flow. I’m very respectful of them and they’re the same to me.”
Jessy, whose first single “Tequila Moon” has charted nationally, started playing the saxophone in her elementary school band.
“I initially picked the flute,” Jessy said. “It was pretty, and all girls played the flute. But they needed somebody to play the sax.”
Jessy said playing the saxophone was what got her interested in jazz music.
“When I started playing the saxophone when I was 9, I had to start listening to jazz,” Jessy said. “I didn’t even know what it was. I just wanted to start listening to sax music.”
Before developing an interest in jazz, Jessy said she was exposed to Latin music from her Mexican-American father’s music collection, and often danced around the house to the music as a little girl. She said she thought of this influence while making her first album, “Tequila Moon.”
“Jazz is definitely an American art form,” Jessy said. “I think I might be one of few Mexican-American jazz artists.”
Because jazz is American music, Jessy said she plays mostly pop songs for her Latin audiences — but still incorporates the saxophone to create her unique sound.
Urban Music Scene called her sound “Sexy and sensual.” Jessy said this is a part of her personality, well illustrated in photos on her Web site.
“It’s just my personality,” Jessy said. “I’m being who I am and trying to keep it real.”
In addition to personality, she puts a lot of her soul into playing her music.
“It is very filled with emotion,” Jessy said.
Jessy said she has always felt this passion about music, and a single song made her decide to pursue it as a career.”
“I had always loved music,” Jessy said. “It was a very big part of my life. [Then] I heard a recording of Cannonball and Sergio Mendez playing with Brazil 66 — and I knew.”
Jeff Jaffe, chairman of the 2008 Art Tatum Jazz Heritage Festival, said he is very excited about Jessy’s upcoming performance.
“Jessy J is an extra surprise,” Jaffe said. “She has one of the top smooth jazz singles on the charts and she recently signed on with the Guitars and Saxes tour. We’re excited to welcome her to Toledo.”
On the web visit www.jessyj.com and click on links for more.