True Stories: Jazz According to Jesse Boyd

When I think about jazz, I think the late, great Norman Granz of Verve Records said it best, “Jazz is played and listened to by all people -- in harmony together.  Pigmentation differences have no place.  As in genuine democracy, only performance counts.” 

Jazz lovers in New Orleans agree, Jesse Boyd’s performance counts. In fact, his music has such widespread appeal, that on any given night, you will find him performing with the distinguished Charmaine Neville, Ingrid Lucia, Leah Chase, Bob French, Michael Pellera, Troy Davis, or Ellis Marsalis, to name a few.  Aside from performing on stage nightly, Jesse is also a professor of music at Loyola University.

Born in Greenville, N.C., Jesse is the son of a Pentacostal minister.  His youth, was immersed in gospel music, as he spent many hours in church with his father and brother.  Partnering with his family, 12-year-old Jesse recorded his first album.  Later that year, he recorded several other gospel albums, too. 

Jesse spent his high school years in Boise, Idaho.  While attending Capital High, he joined the choir - the Capital Singers - and recorded yet another album.  At age 18, he moved to Los Angeles, Calif., and rocked with many touring bands.

Jesse realized the life of a rocker wasn’t for him, so he decided to move to New Orleans to finish his education.  After receiving his bachelor’s from Loyola University, he continued to study music under Bill Huntington and Ellis Marsalis, and obtained his master’s in jazz studies from the University of New Orleans.

Influenced by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Keith Jarrett, Paul Chambers and Bill Evans, the musically gifted Jesse Boyd can play any instrument, but his personal choice is the upright bass. His musical style ranges from an accompanying melody, to the conversational counterpart.  One thing is dazzlingly apparent - the uniqueness of Jesse’s sound is simply marvelous.  And, mastering the sound is something he stresses to his students.

True Stories, his recently released CD, is about people, places and events in his life.  The elegant sound of a jazz trio flavored with a touch of Latin, a kiss of funk and a dash of blues, ensures this CD has something for everyone. Torn Meadow is about divorce.  Big Pine is about partying in the Florida Keys on Big Pine Key.  Jessica was written for his children, Jessica and Dylan, when they were small.  Philip St. was written to celebrate the joy of being home after Hurricane Katrina.  Uptown Blues, my personal favorite, was written to introduce the 12-bar blues to one of his classes.  (Hmm—if the nuns who taught my music classes would have done something like this, I’d still be playing!)

In these, as in the other songs on True Stories, you can feel the passion of Jesse Boyd’s heart, as you listen to the emotion of every note.

Happy listening y’all …


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Bonnie Morét is an award-winning photographer recognized by The Georgia Council of the Arts as "an exceptional representation of contemporary Georgia art work." Her photography is featured on Georgia Public Broadcast's Georgia Traveler. Her exhibitions include Fifth Annual Exposure Awards at Musee du Louvre in Paris, France, Art Takes Miami at Scope Art during Art Basel Miami, Metro Montage XIII at the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, World of Water at the Georgia Aquarium, Open Walls at Black Box Gallery in Portland, Oregon, Wholly Georgia: A Look at the Effects of Southern Religious Culture, sponsored by the Art History League and Georgia State University, at Mint Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, 6x6 at the Rochester Contemporary Arts Center in Rochester, New York, @Phonography: Dialogue in the Wireless Age, at 3 Ring Circus in New Orleans, Louisiana, and About Lands and Lives of the Civil War at the 6th Cavalry Museum in Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia. Her photography appears in Modern Luxury/The Atlantan, Jezebel Magazine, and hangs in the executive offices at the Georgia State Capitol as part of the Art of Georgia exhibit. Corporate clients include Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta History Center, Chanel Cosmetics, Christian Dior Cosmetics, Sharp Mountain Vineyards, PM Realty Group, Granite Properties, Road Atlanta, Patrón Tequila, StubHub, CBM Records and The Washington Auto Show.