Somewhere in the chaos of 2020 jazz musician Julius Rodriguez began uploading his live recordings to SoundCloud, including a performance of a track called “Blues at the Barn” and some longer sets recorded at The Black Cat in San Francisco and Nublu in NYC (which you can find in his playlist entitled “I miss playing shows”). But today the Juilliard alum is sharing a pair of studio singles flexing a more polished sound, with one of the tracks featuring scratches from DJ Jazzy Jeff.
“[On ‘Silver Rain,’] DJ Jazzy Jeff demonstrates the essence of Jazz using a staple tool of hip-hop to show the much-often talked about but not deeply traversed similarities between jazz and hip-hop in a unique and utterly organic way,” he explains of the brief B-side to the more epic “Midnight Sun.” “You may as well call this track a jam session.”
The preceding track is considerably more epic, exploring a variety of sounds over the course of nearly seven minutes (including another hip-hop staple: heavy bass). “‘Midnight Sun’ is such a timeless melody to me,” he adds. “When I first learned the song, I just could not un-hear how hip it is. I wouldn’t call this project an attempt to provide a fresh take, but rather to unveil what is already there and may be hidden in the translation of time.”
Hear both tracks below.