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Gerald Albright Kirk Whalum Jarez

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Jazz: Smooth Jazz Moods: Featuring Saxophone Jazz: Mainstream Jazz Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Holiday: Jazz

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Jarez

Raised in Carson, California, Jarez, (born Jarel Posey) grew up under the tutelage of his father, James Posey, a successful keyboardist that had his own studio. His epiphany with the saxophone occurred in junior high when he was introduced to band. Wanting to quit, his teacher insisted that he continue with it, so he continued trying instruments, searching for something. That search ended the first time he touched a saxophone. He recollected, “When I played the sax the first time, there was something magical about it – even from the first note.”

And starting then, he began to make jazz his life. He listened to and absorbed the greats of the genre – John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. He began to see how he could extend the tradition. And he began to get acclaim for his music – playing Ray Charles’ classic “Georgia On My Mind” at a jazz competition, he won first prize. The name on the award misspelled his given name, Jarel, turning it into “Jarez,” which would later become his professional name. Jarez would be awarded a scholarship to college, but grew weary of the rigors of band competitions. He would go on to become a full-time studio engineer and producer, while concentrating on recording and producing his own music with his music being well-received on the local California circuit.

Jarez would catch the ear of hip hop guru Coolio during a studio session. Coolio liked what he heard and on the spot invited Jarez to play on his album at a large Hollywood studio. This happenstance meeting would lead to a lasting friendship and partnership that would include world tours to large crowds, a cooking show on television and Jarez managing Coolio. Living with one foot in hip hop and another in jazz as a solist, Jarez would integrate the two sounds into an energy infused blend that would become his trademark sound.

This unique sound was an elixir for the younger audience that Jarez felt driven to reach. He would solidify his commitment to this generation of listeners by becoming a spokesperson for Environmental Justice and Climate Change’s (EJCC) campaign, which serves Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in an educational initiative regarding global warming. This opportunity also lent him a chance to develop his fan base even further with selections from his “Saxoholic” CD becoming the musical signature for the “Just Environment” radio show, which broadcasted weekly on from Atlanta’s Clark University’s WCLK 91.9, “The Jazz of the City,” and live online at www.wclk.com.



His ability to expand his musical outreach to fans of all ages included multiple appearances on “Cooking with Coolio.” Jarez also assisted in the production of Coolio’s cookbook of the same name, along with ongoing management of various aspects of Coolio’s business operations.

Jarez would gain notoriety as a soloist with his 2013 release of “On Top of the World” with radio charting success. Ronald Jackson of the Smooth Jazz Ride would make note of Jarez’s strategic outreach to younger audiences. In a review, Jackson said, “He targets young hip hop audiences and delivers his style of jazz to them as an introduction to the coolness of the genre.”

Making jazz cool to a new audience is what Jarez continues to do with continued worldwide appearances with Coolio and the sharing of his music across world airwaves.

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