I met Jay Rodriguez at a rehearsal for a performance at Symphony Space with Arturo O'Farrill and the AfroLatin Jazz Orchestra, Tato Laviera, Bill Ware and a gaggle of very talented poets and performers.
1. What was the first musical instrument you wanted to play and why?
The recorder..because everyone else had one in Kindergarten and my parents did not want to get me one.We had just immigrated from Barranquilla. I guess it was not so important in their respective minds at the time.I always did love singing and dancing.We had parties many a weekend and dancing was obligatory.
2. What gig convinced you of your viability as an artist?
I had been studying under Tito D Rivera...and after a lesson.. Paquito D Rivera took me with him to sit in at Mikell's back in the day.I was 14 .Slide Hampton hung with me and drove me home after the hit.I played, MOMENTS NOTICE, a blues ?, and EL DIA QUE ME QUIERAS.I was never going to be the same..I also remember getting to playing Lead alto with Victor Venegas,Candido and Marco Rizo for a big band..around that time.and in 8 th grade I remember scoring the gig with Vicente Pacheco (singer with Wilfredo Vargas ).I was on call with Milly Jocelyn and the merengue scene..i would go from gigs to my performing Arts on 46th many a night..ha...
3. . What has been the most surprising aspect of your trajectory as a musician?
I must say.a few... co founding the Groove Collective back in the early 90's (growing up within that ensemble as musicians and as people )-we were in our early 20's,working with ,Gil Evans,Prince/briefly-Miles ,playing and
recording with Ray Barretto.
4. Who would be in your dream band? (Musicians dead and alive)
Dream band... Kenny Kirkland,Elvin Jones,Jimmy Garrison,Jaco,George Duke,Trane and Miles,Lester Young,Coleman Hawkins..Bird...and some mo..( Bruce Lee, Batman,the Dali Lama..ha.. ) just incase .all of us just playing one big fat universal note ..
The truth is I feel sometimes that I am already living a dream..so I don't usually dream much..I am constantly inspired though...
5. What country would you like to live in for one year and why?
Either India- Because i love the music..and have studied Bansuri..and Indian theory ...and Harmony within the line...exquisite...!
or Colombia - because i am from there ,yet I did not grow up there.and could perhaps make a difference within myself.....I figure it would help me understand those things and tendencies within myself...I have been feeling that way every since my fathers passing 3 years ago..I brought his ashes to la Laguna de Luruaco in Barranquilla..where he played as a child..very moving...in my minds eye ..i heard drums in the distance..as I held my little boy Nile in my arms...and spread his ashes onto the lagoon.
6. What is your favorite music to nap to?
I can't sleep to music...it makes me think too much...when i was younger I fell asleep to Alejandro Duran, La Cumbia Soledena,the Fania All Stars, The Ramones,Bob Marley,Stravinsky.. Bach...The Beatles,Stevie Wonder,Marvin Gaye..Ascension,Giant Steps, Billy Holiday, Bird..WBGO...ha..
I guess If i have to choose it must be BACH..! Nothing is clearer and all encompassing....Bach....sleep Bach....it brings order all....in my mind and heart..
Now I need..what I like to call Sound Space...not because I don't want to hear music or anything..but because I have enough sounds and things in my mind's ear.... Silence within is truly Golden...