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MP3 Jarez - Smooth Hitz Vol. 1


13 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Fusion, JAZZ: Free Jazz

Show all album songs: Smooth Hitz Vol. 1 Songs


Some musician’s wait and hope for great things to happen to them. Others take matters into their own hands. Jarez falls firmly into the latter category. From the time he started playing as a boy, the 28-year-old Southern California based jazz saxophonist has been steadily taking his music to new heights by continually creating new possibilities and stages for his music and jazz itself to be heard. On his new album, To The Top, one hears an incredibly gifted musician raising his game, and redefining what a jazzman can do in the 21st century.

Raised in Inglewood, California, Jarez, (born Jarel Posey) grew up around music. His father, James Posey, a successful keyboardist, had his own studio, and young Jarel soaked in both the music and the constant creativity. His epiphany with the saxophone occurred in junior high when he was introduced to band. Wanting to quit, his teacher insisted that he continue with it, so he continued trying instruments, searching for something. That search ended the first time he touched a saxophone. He recollects, “When I played the sax the first time, there was something magical about it – even from the first note. All the kids looked at me when I started playing.”

Jarel discovered that he was a prodigy, and after only six months of playing, he was in advanced band, was able to read and write music and was even tutoring other kids. By the time he entered high school, he was already a veteran of over 50 concerts. And starting then, he began to make jazz his life. He listened to and absorbed the greats of the genre – John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. He began to see how he could extend the tradition. And he began to get acclaim for his music – playing Ray Charles’ classic “Georgia On My Mind” at a jazz competition, he won first prize. The name on the award misspelled his given name, Jarel, turning it into “Jarez.” After getting over the embarrassment of it, he saw that “Jarez” was a far jazzier name, and took it on.

After playing over 150 concerts in high school, Jarez tired of bands and competitions, so he took on learning the technical side of recording, learning how to engineer and produce. Jarez rapidly absorbed the ins and outs of the studio, and before long, he became a full time engineer and producer. In 2000, he was briefly signed to One Stop Records, a subsidiary of Universal, and had a project called “No Pressure,” that went to #1 on a few smooth jazz charts. “They didn’t expect it to do as well as it did,” recalls Jarez with satisfaction.

In 2002, Jarez’s family came calling in the form of his cousin, the Grammy Award winning rapper Coolio. For four years, Jarez toured with Coolio around the world, dazzling audiences unfamiliar with jazz with his playing skills and showmanship. Touring in over 30 countries, the experience was an unforgettable one – whether playing in front of over 100,000 people in Taiwan, or having some humorous trouble with flight attendants.

Touring with Coolio was gratifying, but it increased Jarez’s appetite to get back to his own music, so after resolving some challenging issues with his former label and regaining his recording freedom, he set about creating To The Top, an ambitious hybrid of jazz, hip-hop and r&b that has roots in Jarez’s love and appreciation for classic jazz, but branches off in ambitious new directions, evidenced in his version of “Sunshine,” recorded with Howard Hewitt and “Let’s Get It On Tonight,” a collaboration with Coolio.

Jarez’s future is an ambitious one. Firmly committed to taking jazz to places it hasn’t been, he declares that his greatest desire is to be the “Tiger Woods of jazz.” To explain, he says, “Tiger made an old man’s game exciting and real for kids. I want to do the same for jazz…make it cool again.” And with a west coast tour upcoming in September, as well as jazz cruises booked for the winter, with artists like Brian Culbertson, Dave Koz and Kirk Whalum, Jarez will be creating a bond with his listeners through his sax. “What I do isn’t about the money,” he states, “It’s about the connection with the people. Performing is the most joyful thing I get because I have a spiritual connection with the audience when I’m playing. To make them feel and then have it come back to me – well, it’s a divine connection.” Through his own drive, ambition and skill, Jarez is an artist not waiting to find connection – he’s one that creates it, every single day.
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