From the moment Jessy J hit the stage in Fresno, California for the first time as a member of super producer/guitarist Paul Brown´s live band on Valentine´s Day 2006, the love between the 26-year-old saxophonist/vocalist and contemporary jazz fans has been flowing nonstop. The growing buzz led to her first major show at the Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival later that year, and in 2007, as part of the event´s 20th anniversary, she became one of the only artists to ever headline shows on all three weekends. Now she is taking it to the next level, stepping out under the Tequila Moon on her multi-faceted, Brown-produced Peak Records debut that brings to the genre a fresh and inspired energy with vibrant exotic twists.
Jessy offers tastes of pop, jazz, Latin, and even Brazilian music on Tequila Moon, which in addition to her Peak label mate and producer Brown on acoustic guitar, features performances by some of L.A.´s most renowned musicians: keyboardists Gregg Karukas, Ricky Peterson and Kiki Ebsen; bassist Roberto Vally; and drummers Oscar Seaton, Dave Beyer and Sergio Gonzalez.
Tequila Moon opens with Jessy in full-on seduction mode, inviting the listener to enjoy a balmy, slightly breezy evening complete with her low toned tenor melody, laid back percussion, Brown´s gently jangling guitar and Karukas´ retro keyboard sounds. She keeps the smoky and soulful tenor vibe going over the cool grooves of the midtempo ballad "Spanish Nights," which features Brown´s hypnotic guitar harmonies and Richie Gajate Garcia´s enchanting Latin soundscapes. Next, Jessy takes us down to Rio, playing moodily over an old school samba groove amidst a dreamy, romantic atmosphere on "Sin Ti/Without You;" after Peterson´s high impact Fender Rhodes solo, the rhythms pick up and Jessy digs in for some of the collection´s most explosive improvisational blowing.
She puts down her sax and graces us with her powerful, sensual vocals on the familiar strains of Jorge Bem´s "Mas Que Nada," best known in the U.S. as the signature song of Sergio Mendes. Jessy intertwines flute and tenor with scorching rhythms and sweeping ambiences on the feisty and percussive jam tune that lives up to its name "Fiesta Velada" before chilling out and picking up the soprano sax for the first time on a heartfelt, lyrical reading of Phoebe Snow´s "Poetry Man." The melodically compelling, easy strutting Kiki Ebsen-penned song "Turquoise Street" allows Jessy to express her more in the pocket, contemporary soul and jazz chops, while the soaring ballad "PB n´ J" (cleverly referring to its composers, Brown and Jessy) offers a passionate, romantic dance between her sax, Brown´s guitar and Ebsen´s hypnotic piano touches. Focusing strictly on vocals, Jessy reaches back through the years for a gorgeous, lilting take on "Besame Mucho," and picks up her soprano again for the wistful and easy grooving (courtesy of drummer Chad Wright´s tasteful brushes and percussionist Nino Sanchez´ laid back exotica) "Running Away." Tequila Moon closes with an emotional rendition of Leon Russell´s beloved ballad "Song For You," which opens in a blues/soul vein before building dramatically and adding touches of sparse acoustic jazz and one of Jessy´s most memorable improvisational solos.