Classically trained pianist Jorge Paez has been in love with music since he started taking lessons at the young age of five years-old. He has studied at the Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School under Dr. Dalia Sakas, Jennifer Apsel, Svetlana Avezbakiyeva, and a beginning training in Jazz under John Sanfilippo among others. Currently, he is getting his degree in Jazz Studies at Broward College, where he is studying under Professors Franchesca Romero, Jason Furman and Louis Castillo.
Studio Uncut sat down with him today, and we asked a few questions to get to know the man behind the keys. First questions: What inspires you?
“I’m inspired by music, itself. The back and forth of Jazz, the constant arranging, rearranging and recomposition, and the creativity and innovation that comes out of that is what drives me”
Who do you consider to be some of the greatest musicians of all times?
“There are 2 answers to that. On the classical side Mozart and Bach, Mozart because he could craft incredibly warm, incredibly emotional melodies, and Bach, well he’s just the master of composition in so many ways. On the Jazz side though and closer to my heart these days Bud Powell and Ret Garland. Powell just blew me away with his compositions and Red Garland just has some of the most amazing solos I’ve heard in recent memory.”
What’s one piece of advice you wish you had before you became a musician?
“I wish I knew the most important thing is to be yourself. I always tried to create an image rather than being my authentic self, and I think that’s one of the things that has held me back the most in my musical journey. You don’t have to be a genius, and you don’t have to craft an image to please this or that person or this and that group of people, you just have to be your best self and be brave enough to put it out there.”
When did you know you wanted to pursue music?
“It took me a long time to decide to make music my actual career. I’ve been training and learning for what feels like forever, but it wasn’t until I discovered Jazz in December of 2021, that I knew I had found my career path. Jazz just feeds all of my strengths–learning by ear, and my creativity as a musician. It’s a genre which is constantly rewriting itself and that’s what I love about it. I’ve tried a lot of different paths in my life, customer service, sales, and I also tried going down the path of a classical pianist and EDM DJ and all of them just seem to have something missing. Either my creativity wasn’t fed or my musicality wasn’t fed and when I discovered Jazz I decided to make it my career because it essentially combines everything I’ve wanted to do. Compose, arrange, and of course perform.
What keeps you motivated?
“Again, music itself. Listening to the greats. I always feel like I’m one step away from where I want to be, like I can always strive harder and reach higher when I’m listening to them.”
What’s one thing you didn’t know about the music business when you started?
“I had no idea about the way gigging works. I’m not yet gigging myself but I’ve been talking to musicians and looking for opportunities and connections in the field and I’m only now finding out how it works in the real world and it’s a complete learning process.”
When you look back on your career, what is something you’re the most proud of?
“I’m the proudest of where I’ve gotten to today. I’ve had so many chances to give up, and every time I’ve just listened to my heart and one way or another, I found my way back to music, until I found the music for me.”-Jorge