News day / TWENTY-five-year-old pianist and composer Jeanine S Ruiz is set to take music lovers on a cross-genre journey in her debut album, This is Me.
Her work, a media release described, is filled with “varied textures of a lush and musically diverse Caribbean experience” and can be seen as multi-genre. It is a sound that is “experimental by design”.
This is why Jazz Artistes on the Greens, a concert series that celebrates new singers as well as seasoned musicians, is the ideal stage for Ruiz to premiere her album and band, The J9Quartet.
“This Is Me celebrates the idea of being mixed,” Ruiz said.
“The music contains Caribbean influences such as parang, soca, Afro-rhythms and so on, and also genres of the world like jazz, R&B, electronic music and much more. It can’t be classified as one genre.”
This is Me album
Ruiz promises an entertaining performance at WASA grounds, Farm Road, St Joseph, on Saturday with guest singers, sisters LeAndra and Tylah Head, Louise Clarke and Music Festival winner Janine Charles-Farray.
Her J9Quartet musicians are guitarist Aaron Low Chew Tung, Azriel Bahadoor on drums and percussion, bass player Jemel Patrice and Ruiz on key boards.
Low Chew Tung comes from a musical family and got his early love of music from the rock world since the first time he heard someone play a Metallica song. “I was drawn to the project because Jeanine’s music is very exciting and challenging,” Low Chew Tung said.
“I’m always looking forward to challenges in music. I want something that’s going to push me beyond my comfort zone. (Working on this album) raised the excitement because we felt the energy from each other. The project gave us an energy to push forward.”
LeAndra Head will join Jeanine Ruiz on stage at Jazz Artists on the Greens at WASA grounds on Saturday.
Patrice began tuning his classical guitar to a six-string bass and started practising after being inspired by fellow bassist BJ Saunders who visited his then church often.
“When I was contacted to be a part of the project, I felt excited. Knowing what Jeanine has done and getting the opportunity to place a little part of me in the music, I took it. The music is adventurous. It’s a journey. I was able to be myself and represent who I am. What you hear is a reflection of me,” Patrice said.
Bahadoor, described as the heartbeat of J9, picked up the drums during a long vacation after encouragement from his father and fell in love immediately. He started his career in classical music but considers himself a lover of every genre.
Tylah Head will perform at the Jazz Artists on the Green on Saturday.
“Recording the music was a challenge but it was also extremely fun. I had to come out of my comfort zone a bit but overall it was an excellent experience that I’ll gladly do again,” Bahadoor said.
“Working with the team was very pleasant and professional. There’s an open-mindedness to the creation which I appreciated.”
This is Me was audio engineered by Ryan Chaitram with sound mixing by Sean Poland and Sterling Quan Soon, mastered by Martin Raymond with music production supervisors Ato Williams and Atiba Williams.
On the limited-edition album are the pieces Ambitious, Overthinker, Impulsive and Dreamer.
“The instrumental music tells a story though melodies and mood manipulation,” Ruiz explained. “Even with vocal involvement – such as on Dreamer, there is no lyrical storytelling. Each composition represents one of my personality characteristics. I’m ambitious, an over-thinker, impulsive, temperamental and a dreamer,” she said.
The project challenged the musicians to play multiple roles, to be experimental on their instruments and very flexible. Low Chew Tung, Bahadoor and Patrice were specifically chosen not only because of their accredited skills but for their personalities and musical flavours.
“The chemistry between the musicians were of great priority. In fact, everyone chosen to be a part of this project including the engineers, studio house, designer etc were specifically requested because of their open-mindedness; their will to work on a project that’s not of the norm,” Ruiz said.
This Is Me is scheduled to be available digitally April/May 2018 on platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, CD Baby and others. For more info: [email protected] or Facebook.