The Recording Academy played host to GRAMMYs On The Road at the Detroit Jazz Festival on Aug. 31 – Sept. 3 in downtown Detroit. GRAMMY.com conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the festival, including Cuban pianist/composer Alfredo Rodriguez and GRAMMY-nominated saxist Steve Wilson.
Rodriguez discussed meeting GRAMMY-winning producer Quincy Jones, moving to the United States to pursue a music career and his early music education, among other topics.
"I am very fortunate to be working with Quincy Jones and that somebody with [a] career [like his told me] that he wants to help [me] with [my] music,'" said Rodriguez.
Born in Havana, Rodriguez began playing piano at age 10 and performing with his father, singer/television presenter Alfredo Rodriguez, at age 14. He studied classical music at the Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán and the Instituto Superior de Arte. In 2006 Rodriguez performed at the Monreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland where he met Jones. In 2009 Rodriguez relocated to the United States where he began work on his debut album, Sounds Of Space. Released in March, Sounds Of Space was produced by Jones and features 11 original songs composed and arranged by Rodriguez.
Wilson discussed discovering his love for music, working with GRAMMY-winning and -nominated artists and teaching music, among other topics.
"[Playing music] was always a calling, I loved to do it," said Wilson. "Nobody had to tell me, 'Oh you need to practice for three hours a day or four hours a day.' I just did it, because I loved it."
Born in Hampton, Va., Wilson has toured and performed with artists including clarinetist Don Byron, multi-instrumentalist/composer Frank Foster, lyricist/vocalist Jon Hendricks, and the Mingus Big Band, among others. He is widely known for his work with GRAMMY winner Chick Corea, including the Chick Corea And Origins project, with whom he earned a GRAMMY nomination in 1999 for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual Or Group for Change. His solo albums include 1998's Generations, 2000's Passages and 2003's Soulful Song. Wilson frequently conducts clinics and is a member of the faculty at the Manhattan School of Music.
In addition to artist interviews, The Recording Academy also presented GRAMMY SoundTables featuring Detroit Jazz Festival performers discussing their music and careers. Participants included GRAMMY winners Terence Blanchard, Gary Burton and Joe Lovano.
Come back tomorrow for more GRAMMYs On The Road at Detroit Jazz Festival coverage.