At 30-something, jazz saxophonist Jarez realizes hip-hop rules the world for most young men his age. But that hasn’t stopped the young musician from claiming his fame while pursuing the music true to his heart. Like the name of his new CD “On Top Of The World” on his own independent label, Jarez is taking it all the way. With a vision as innovative as his sax styling, Jarez is knocking down doors every day, broadening his fan base far beyond the borders of the jazz experience and expanding his recognition to new heights.
Currently touring around the country in promotion of his new CD project, Jarez has not stopped there. Fans can find him cooking alongside his partner and manager of rap icon, Coolio on the hilarious new show, “Cooking with Coolio” on MyDamnChannel.com (www.MyDamnChannel.com). In true jazzman form, Jarez sometimes straps his saxophone to his back, and may occasionally break into a cool rift to accompany the delights being cooked up in the kitchen. Jarez also co-stared in a reality show with Coolio called “Coolio’s Rules” on the Oxygen Channel. The talented musician produced the theme songs for both shows.
Jarez’s tour dates are not the normal jazz venues and haunts you would expect either. He tours regularly with his hip hop peers, incorporating the smooth sounds of jazz into hip-hop beats. Jarez is perhaps one of the few jazz artists able to successfully blend the two diverse musical genres. In fact, for several 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”, explains Jarez, “Performing is one of the most satisfying experiences because I have a spiritual connection with the audience when I’m playing. To have them feel what I feel – well, it’s a divine connection. It is a double blessing and joy to be able to bring the gift of jazz to an audience not typically familiar with it, and yet have them embrace and welcome it.”
Impacting college students on yet another level, Jarez recently became one of the spokespersons for the Environmental Justice and Climate Change’s (EJCC) campaign to educate students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) about the global warming crisis. The opportunity lends him a chance to develop his fan base even further as selections from ” SAXOHOLIC ” provide the musical signature for the accompanying radio show, “Just Environment” which broadcasts weekly on from Atlanta’s Clark University’s WCLK 91.9, “The Jazz of the City,” and live online at www.wclk.com.
Even Jarez’s CD ” On Top Of The World ” defies the norm, with a wonderfully ambitious hybrid of jazz, hip-hop and R&B. With Jarez roots coming from traditional jazz his new sound branches off in bold new directions. 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.”
In the Beginning…..
Raised in Carson, 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.
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 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 2001 Jarez started touring around the world with Grammy Award winning rapper Coolio., dazzling audiences unfamiliar with jazz with his playing skills and showmanship.Touring with Coolio was gratifying, but it increased Jarez’s appetite of becoming a jazz star.