The first question is usually, “What does the ‘T’ stand for?”
And there are probably reasonable answers: terrific, Texas, tubular, tantalizing… but none of these would be the real answer. His name is just ‘T’… it’s on his birth certificate.
Then, the second question is, how does someone so young play these piano styles with such authority and authenticity, as if he were the originator – boogie-woogie, stride, country, jazz, one song sounding like Pig Robbins, then the next song, like Nat Cole or Art Tatum. It’s admittedly a good question and not one so easily answered as his short given name.
T Jarrod (full name, T Jarrod Bonta) has been performing in his home town of Austin, TX, since he was twelve years old. He has played or recorded with a variety of Texas’ elite: Rosie Flores, Johnny Bush, Wayne Hancock, Cornell Hurd, The Horton Brothers, Jim Stringer & the AM Band, Marti Brom, and many others. As if there were ample time left, his own band, The T Jarrod Quartet, has been performing regularly since about 2000, playing a mix of western swing, jazz and country.
It may, then, come as a surprise to many that this is T’s first full length recording. However, this is totally consistent with the life and philosophy of this unique musician. T’s goal has not been to use his talent to achieve fame or fortune, but rather to refine his abilities and to seek to be the best player that he can be. One of life’s lessons is that TALENT gives you a head start, but HARD WORK eventually moves you much further along. And when you mix immense talent with really hard work – well, you wind up with a musician like T Jarrod Bonta.
This collection focuses on the jazz side of T’s talent, particularly showing off his unique style of composition. Tunes such as the opener, “Odds and Ends”, pretty much defy categorization. “Meandering” is just flat out channeling of Art Tatum. The closer, “Twilight Episodes” could easily have come from the pen of John Lewis.
The supporting players are superb. Beau Sample on bass, is an alumnus of San Antonio’s Cave Cat Sammy, and Hot Club of Cowtown. Drummer, Paul Schlichting, is a busy jazz player and educator in Austin. Long time T Jarrod collaborator and producer, Jim Stringer, shows off his jazz chops on guitar, joined by guest soloist Dave Biller (on Meandering) and J.D. Pendley (on Please Don’t Talk).