ListN Up Playlist: Jhoely Garay (June 6, 2024)

ListN Up is a series of artist-curated playlists that offer an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice.

Jhoely Garay is a Mexican guitarist, composer, arranger and educator based in New York. She creates music for large ensembles that advocate for environmental and social causes, using the sonic palette of the natural world as her inspiration. Her music expresses her passion for straight-ahead swing, contemporary jazz, and musics and rhythms from Latin America.

Hola! My name is Jhoely Garay, I am a Mexican guitarist, composer and arranger based in New York, and I am here to invite you to check out the Listen Up Playlist I created for I Care if You Listen and American Composers Forum. This playlist is dedicated to some of my favorite large ensemble music. It is music that inspires me, and that has a special place in my heart. Check it out!

Partido Alto by Vince Mendoza, Performed by Mendoza and Metropole Orkest

Partido Alto is my favorite track on Vince Mendoza’s album Olympians. The development of motifs and melodies, the transformation of music material over time, and the contrasting and varied orchestrations all contribute to its cinematic feel. It’s a piece that sparks my imagination. I find the mix on this album particularly tasteful, I recommend using your best headphones or speakers to fully appreciate all the details on this track.

“Matita Pere” by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Paulo César Pinheiro, Performed by Jobim

I discovered “Matita Pere” by Antonio Carlos Jobim, two years ago. The form, orchestration, transitions, and contrast in sonic textures sound like a story, a journey. The way it starts and ends makes me think about a book’s front and back cover. This and all the pieces from this album, also named Matita Pere, greatly contrasts the most popular pieces composed by this artist; it is a testament to Jobim’s ingenuity and brilliance!

Sputnik by Maria Schneider, Performed by Schneider and the Oslo Jazz Ensemble

Maria Schneider is one of my biggest inspirations. She uses her art to raise awareness and encourage change on social and political topics she believes in. She always speaks her truth, and I find that extremely powerful and meaningful. Maria is a role model for both my music career and personal growth. This track is from her most recent album, Data Lords. Close your eyes and listen!

Um Filme by Chico Pinheiro, arranged by Bob Mintzer, Performed by Bob Mintzer Big Band

This is an arrangement of a composition by Brazilian guitarist Chico Pinheiro. I discovered this piece in 2020, looking for inspiration to incorporate Brazilian rhythms into my writing, and I became obsessed with it for quite some time. I enjoy how Bob Mintzer arranges the orchestra to achieve clean and crystalline textures combined with Chico’s guitar sound and voice. For some reason, listening to this album keeps me motivated when I go for a run.

Rituals: “Adoration I” by Jim McNeely, Performed by Chris Potter and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band

Prof. McNeely is a composer who keeps pushing the limits of the sonic possibilities of the large ensemble. I could hear his intense curiosity, imagination, and passion for finding new ways to express what he hears. I had the opportunity to study with him, and I remember him saying that one of the composer’s duties is to ask themselves: “What if…?” That idea has stayed in my mind since.

“Na Baixa do Sapateiro” by Ary Barroso, Performed by Caetano Veloso

Caetano Veloso is another great example of an artist who uses his work as a platform to raise awareness about the current state of the world and aim to make a change. The beautiful intro is an orchestration of João Gilberto’s version of this piece, which I find ingenious and tasteful. If you like this track, I recommend checking out the full album entitled Livro.

Say it Softly by Thad Jones, Performed by The Thad Jones and Mel Lewis Orchestra

The Thad Jones & Mel Lewis Orchestra has a special place in my heart. I decided I wanted to write music for jazz orchestra when I first listened to their music. It was a defining moment! Say it Softly differs from most pieces in the band’s repertoire as it is played on an even-eights feel and not swing. I enjoy listening to the audience’s and the band’s energy and excitement through this recording

Máquina de Ritmo (Ao Vivo) by Gilberto Gil, Performed by Gil and the Petrobras Symphony Orchestra

I am fascinated by the sound of the voice and guitar in Brazilian music’s diverse and rich world. I enjoy hearing Gilberto Gil have fun making music, playing, and singing with such a presence. This piece is part of a live concert entitled “Concerto de Cordas e Máquinas de Ritmo,” where one can hear the masterful arrangements of Jaques Morelenbaum. You can watch the entire concert video played live on this link!

Your Enemies are Asleep by Darcy James Argue, Performed by Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Matt Clohesy, and Ingrid Jensen

I had the opportunity to study with Professor Darcy for a year. He is the most committed, prepared, and knowledgeable teacher I have ever studied with! He is also a passionate artist whose music reflects his bold and ingenious character, and love for ALL kinds of music. He constantly pushed my writing and made me grow as an artist. This is one of my favorite pieces from his most recent album, Dynamic Maximum Tension.


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