Playboy Jazz Festival
8 p.m. June 15. The festival is from 2:30-11 p.m. Saturday and 2-10:30 p.m. June 15
Hollywood Bowl
2301 N. Highland Ave.


(323) 850-2000,,,

Glendora resident Jessy J is living a life that many merely dream about. An in-demand saxophone player, she has recorded with artists such as Michael Buble, The Temptations and Jessica Simpson. She is currently touring with Michael Bolton and will be performing at the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl on June 15, with Guitars & Saxes, which features Gerald Albright, Jeff Golub, Jeff Lorber and Peter White. She also plays with Mexican artists Gloria Trevi and Armando Manzanero and leads her own band as well.

Jessy J's debut effort, "Tequila Moon" (Peak Records), was released in March. It consists of a mix of smooth and Latin jazz originals and cover tunes and originals, which not only showcase her instrumental talent, but her sweet vocals. The album boasts performances by keyboardists Gregg Karukas, Ricky Peterson and Kiki Ebsen, bassist Roberto Vally and drummers Oscar Seaton,

Dave Beyer and Sergio Gonzalez.

"I think that everyone can appreciate jazz because it draws upon our basic needs," she said. "Improvisation, to be free. It's relaxing, soothing. It's a great art form and I love it because I can really express myself through jazz."

Jessy J began her musical path on the piano at age 4. She later joined her elementary school band and, at 9, played the alto saxophone, as well as flute.

"My family really loves music," Jessy J said. "My

Glendora singer and saxophone player Jessy J has released her jazz debut, "Tequila Moon," and will be touring across the United States with Guitars & Saxes and Michael Bolton. (courtesy)
stepsister plays the clarinet and sings and we always used to do events together like little concerts. My dad especially loves music and has a huge record collection."

She grew up listening to her father's music, which ranges from traditional jazz to Sinatra to contemporary grooves.

At age 15, she was named Piano State Champion at the Bela Bartok Festival in California and played in The Grammy Band and at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Majoring in jazz studies at USC, Jessy J went on to learn soprano, tenor and baritone saxophone and her talent flowed on to dancing and singing.

"I've been lucky to always have music as my career," she said. "I've always been teaching for outreach clinics. In high school, I gave piano and saxophone lessons and when I graduated from USC, I taught the same thing for a little while, then I went on tour with a show called `Blast.' It was a great experience."

She's also a member of the Masters Rose Bowl Aquatic Team in Pasadena and can be found in the pool whenever she's in town.

"It's relaxing and it clears my mind and it's also a great workout," Jessy J said. "I like the backstroke because I can look up at the sky."

Jessy J wrote all of the original songs on "Tequila Moon," which make up half of the album.

"I usually write at the piano," she said. "I'm mostly inspired when I'm practicing. I'll think of something or a thought will cross my mind, a melody. Then I'll go to the piano and sing the melody first and then play it and I'll find the harmonies that go with it."

She finds lyrical inspiration from other singers, such as Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.

The saxophonist is comfortable being in a man's world. She said women are finally finding their place in music, and they provide balance to a band.

"I think it's important, too, for a performer to embrace her femininity," she said. "Wear a dress or do your hair, because it's part of being a woman and people who come to the show want to see who you are really. I try to just embrace everything as a female artist and also I try to really be sensitive to the people around me."

Jessy J is busy, but always encourages fans to e-mail her at her Web site, There, you can find her tour schedule and blog.

In addition to the Playboy Jazz Festival, Jessy J is crossing the nation with Guitars & Saxes and touring the East Coast and the South with Michael Bolton. She will appear with her own band, headlining shows at the JazzTrax Festival at Catalina Island for three weekends in October.

"I've always heard about the Playboy Jazz Festival, but I've never been there," she said. "I'm so proud to be part of the lineup this year, especially with Herbie Hancock headlining and other amazing talented artists, like Dee Dee Bridgewater. So I'm looking forward as much to attending the festival as performing in it.

"I'll be there all day," she said. "I love live jazz."

(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2128