RISING JAZZ PHENOM JULIUS RODRIGUEZ TAKES ON STEVIE WONDER’S CLASSIC “ALL I DO”
Julius Rodriguez's music dares to imagine a future of new standards and musical trailblazing
Julius Rodriguez, “rising jazz phenom” (NPR) and multi-talented pianist/drummer/producer, today releases “All I Do”, the second single from his forthcoming major label debut album Let Sound Tell All set for release June 10 on Verve Records. Rodriguez takes on the beloved Stevie Wonder classic, referencing Tammi Terrell’s 1966 version of the song and infusing it with a shimmering lyrical jazz pianism.
Julius Rodriguez tapped his childhood friend and singer Mariah Cameron to sing lead vocals on this track, which she handles with a mid-century Motown take, belting with a purity of sound, backed up on vocals by South African jazz artist Vuyo Sotashe. Ben Wolfe, Rodriguez’s Juilliard professor and legendary bassist (Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick, Jr.) adds a swinging, walking backbeat, buoyed by Stay Human drummer Joe Saylor. Julius takes the lead on piano, deftly weaving from supporting comps to Oscar Peterson-level laid back excellence.
Whereas his first single “Gift Of The Moon,” was as The Fader described it, “a cosmic jazz saga,” this track calls to mind Rodriguez’s early days at Smalls Jazz Club, embracing a more traditional jazz sound but infusing it with the rich tapestry of soul and gospel sounds.
On his debut album Let Sound Tell All, 23 year old musician Julius Rodriguez stirs a cauldron of gospel, jazz, classical, R&B, hip-hop, experimentation, production and sheer technical wizardry to create a stunning debut that commands attention. As an 11 year old kid, Rodriguez honed his jazz chops at Smalls Jazz Club, wowing audiences with his rendition of his favorite Ellington tune “Take the A Train.” Fast forward to 2018 when he dropped out of Juilliard, shimmying off the rigid curriculum to tour with A$AP Rocky. Now, in 2022, Rodriguez is on the cusp of a stellar release that weaves his life and influences - from Monk, Coltrane, Solange, James Blake, Sampha and more. This music is as much at home in Smalls Jazz Club as it is at Gov Ball.
Let Sound Tell All is a complex combination of live improvisation weaved with high-level production. A song may start out in a well-oiled, Coltrane classic quartet energy and fed through distortion pedals to culminate in an exhilarating trippy meltdown of sheer sonic genius.
Call him Gen-Z jazz, but when you hear Julius Rodriguez play “the music,” as he calls it, it’s a modern Sound, as fluent in history as it is aware of its contemporary context. His music dares to imagine a future of new standards and musical trailblazing. This vanguard was raised in an atmosphere where pop and hip-hop and dance influenced their approaches to melody and harmony and rhythm, so of course it is part of their improvisational DNA. And that’s what Julius Rodriguez’s Sound tells to whoever will choose to listen.
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