Jason Parra---Contemporary Jazz Trumpet
Jason Parra picked up the trumpet at the age of three; it was his father Julian’s. It was twelve years later that he would start playing the instrument in High School. It was a bit odd that Jason chose football, wrestling and track over the trumpet given that his mother and father met each other while playing in the Boise High School Band (trumpet and trombone) in Jason’s hometown of Boise, Idaho. He was a natural on the horn and after only two years of playing was the principal player in all state, all- northwest and accepted into the prestigious McDonalds All American Band and Jazz Band. As a senior he received a new trumpet for winning the solo competition at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. Hampton invited Parra to perform with him and his New York City Big Band during the Festivals closing performance. Jason didn’t disappoint, and after a scorching improv solo he brought the crowd to its feet for a five minute standing ovation. Afterwards Hampton called the performance "outstanding, he’s a remarkable player".
Jason went on to attend two Universities and eventually finished his studies under Dick Shear (Stan Kenton Orchestra) and noted arranger Dave Barduhn. Parra then formed and started playing with several groups from jazz quartets to funk and rock bands. His first big break was to join Actor Bruce Willis’s blues band the L.A. Accelerators. He later moved to New York City where several opportunities as a writer, studio session player and touring performer presented themselves.
During his career Jason has performed and toured with over a dozen Grammy Award Winning Artists. A short list includes the late Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Arturo Sandoval, Bill Watrous, Dave Weckl, Chuck Mangione, Red Rodney, Gene Harris, Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker, Billy Cobham, Carl Fontana, Ernie Watts, The James Brown Band and numerous others. After countless suggestions and requests of fellow artists and industry professionals, Jason released his debut solo album Two Reasons". The CD has eleven original compositions written by Parra (2 tracks by Parra/Levy). The music of Two Reasons is a very unique blend of Jazz, R&B, Hip-Hop, Funk and the modern "cool/smooth" sound.
This style was a bit of a risk, as it had the potential to be very successful or to offend jazz lovers the world over. Fortunately for Jason it was the former scenario that occurred and Two Reasons was surprisingly successful. As an independent release the album quickly dominated the independent and internet radio markets. But with the first single release of the song Aguamala things really took off. The CD went for R&R ads and Aguamala sailed into the top of the billboard radio charts for jazz. CD Sales and radio play continue to be strong and Jason’s website has received over a half million visits to date. The critics started taking notice and several of the top Jazz writers from around the world wrote reviews and features--- not a single article had anything but rave reviews. This obviously set’s the stage for a follow up album; as numerous top record labels and industry heavies have shown a great deal of interest in Parra’s music and solo artist career. With the obvious attention and anticipation of a second release that is exactly what Parra will deliver.
The next album is already near completion, as a prolific songwriter Jason merely had to choose which tunes will make the final cut. The next CD will once again stretch the boundaries of contemporary jazz, and this time there will be no holding back. Over the years Parra has developed an incredible virtuosity of the trumpet, as well as the ever elusive distinctive sound that player strive to achieve. This next release will not only showcase the jaw-dropping range and solo technique of Jason Parra, but will also feature some of the worlds best known and unknown talent as guest artists.
"Jason is on the brink of making it big in the modern jazz scene today. He has an undeniable talent on the trumpet and is a prolific songwriter. He also has that intangible mystique of stage presence that is so hard to find. Standing at an imposing 6"3 with dangerous good looks he is the epitome of the jazz cool". ---SmoothJazz.com