Born: February 21, 1969 Primary Instrument: Trumpet
Jason Parra picked up the trumpet at the age of three; it was his father Julian’s. It was twelve years later that he would start playing the instrument in High School. It was a bit odd that Jason chose football, wrestling and track over the trumpet given that his mother and father met each other while playing in the Boise High School Band (trumpet and trombone) in Jason’s hometown of Boise, Idaho. He was a natural on the horn and after only two years of playing was the principal player in all state, all- northwest and accepted into the prestigious McDonalds All American Band and Jazz Band. As a senior he received a new trumpet for winning the solo competition at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. Hampton invited Parra to perform with him and his New York City Big Band during the Festivals closing performance. Jason didn’t disappoint, and after a scorching improv solo he brought the crowd to its feet for a five minute standing ovation. Afterwards Hampton called the performance outstanding, he’s a remarkable player.
Jason went on to attend two Universities and eventually finished his studies under Dick Shear (Stan Kenton Orchestra) and noted arranger Dave Barduhn. Parra then formed and started playing with several groups from jazz quartets to funk and rock bands. His first big break was to join Actor Bruce Willis’s blues band the L.A. Accelerators. He later moved to New York City where several opportunities as a writer, studio session player and touring performer presented themselves.
During his career Jason has performed and toured with over a dozen Grammy Award Winning Artists. A short list includes the late Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Arturo Sandoval, Bill Watrous, Dave Weckl, Chuck Mangione, Red Rodney, Gene Harris, Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker, Billy Cobham, Carl Fontana, Ernie Watts, The James Brown Band and numerous others. After countless suggestions and requests of fellow artists and industry professionals, Jason released his debut solo album Two Reasons. The CD has eleven original compositions written by Parra (2 tracks by Parra/Levy). The music of Two Reasons is a very unique blend of Jazz, R&B, Hip-Hop, Funk and the modern cool/smooth sound.
This style was a bit of a risk, as it had the potential to be very successful or to offend jazz lovers the world over. Fortunately for Jason it was the former scenario that occurred and Two Reasons was surprisingly successful. As an independent release the album quickly dominated the independent and internet radio markets. But with the first single release of the song Aguamala things really took off. The CD went for R&R ads and Aguamala sailed into the top of the billboard radio charts for jazz. CD Sales and radio play continue to be strong and Jason’s website has received over a half million visits to date. The critics started taking notice and several of the top Jazz writers from around the world wrote reviews and features--- not a single article had anything but rave reviews. This obviously set’s the stage for a follow up album; as numerous top record labels and industry heavies have shown a great deal of interest in Parra’s music and solo artist career. With the obvious attention and anticipation of a second release that is exactly what Parra will deliver.
The next album is already near completion, as a prolific songwriter Jason merely had to choose which tunes will make the final cut. The next CD will once again stretch the boundaries of contemporary jazz, and this time there will be no holding back. Over the years Parra has developed an incredible virtuosity of the trumpet, as well as the ever elusive distinctive sound that player strive to achieve. This next release will not only showcase the jaw-dropping range and solo technique of Jason Parra, but will also feature some of the worlds best known and unknown talent as guest artists.
Jason is on the brink of making it big in the modern jazz scene today. He has an undeniable talent on the trumpet and is a prolific songwriter. He also has that intangible mystique of stage presence that is so hard to find. Standing at an imposing 63 with dangerous good looks he is the epitome of the jazz cool. ---SmoothJazz.com
Awards:McDonald's All American Jazz Band Outstanding soloist - Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival All Northwest jazz musician of the year Top five album of the year - smooth jazz radio
A talented studio musician and songwriter, Jason has also found time to tour with Natalie Cole, Ray Charles, Arturo Sandoval, Lionel Hampton, The James Brown Band and Gene Harris.The second cut, the tight and funky ‘Agumala' with Parra's classy muted trumpet to the fore, is just as good and ‘Wish You Were Here' is quite simply the best track on the album....
Jason Parra's album Two Reasons has certainly more than just two reasons to buy it.It offers a large range of diverse styles for a broad audience; I know this will make the album tremendously popular.Review by HBH of www.smooth-jazz.de Germany's #1 jazz destination.
Brian Soergel--- www.smoothjazz.com---Americas #1 Site for smooth jazz What were listening to now---June---Jason Parra & the X Factor, Two Reasons:Smooth jazz trumpet music straight out of Boise, Idaho; Building on funk and R&B influences, Parra delivers a grooving set that recalls Rick Braun, especially on Aguamala and What Goes Around.
Jason Parra & the X Factor---TWO REASONS - The Idaho Statesman. Calling this the best-ever smooth jazz album made in the Treasure Valley isn't necessarily hyperbole, particularly considering that almost nobody plays smooth jazz here.Trumpeter Parra deserves praise and respect for this funky collection of radio-ready, contemporary instrumental cuts.Deep-groove bass and sky-scraping, emotive trumpet make these melodies perfect for a sexy candlelight dinner, even when Parra gets technical and unleashes a five-octave run on Never Look Back.Soulful yet ambitious, this disc actually may be too rockin' for smooth jazz fans occasionally.That's OK.Smoothies need a wake-up call.
Follow up review by Michael Deeds---The Idaho Statesman On the album's song Never Look Back, Parra uncorks a five-octave run from G to G. Such technical proficiency is no secret to Parra's peers. ... I think Jason's a great player, declares singer-saxophonist Curtis Stigers (Arista, Sony and Concord Records), who has known Parra for two decades.
JASON PARRA & THE X FACTOR | 2 Reasons Hey, this is some hot stuff right here.2 REASONS is one of the liveliest trumpet albums I've ever heard!It's got World-class performances, great writing and production, and it's got energy, energy, and still more energy.I think you can tell that I'm enthused about this new project.Jason Parra and his band, The X Factor, are based in Boise, Idaho, a place at least up until now more famous for potatoes than Smooth Jazz.That's all about to change!Jason's an outstanding player, full of energy and spirit, with an incredible range.They'll remind you of T.O.P. with an afterburner.They've got an incredible set of original tunes here, too, ranging from the mellow (but not too mellow) Mellow Traumatic to the in-your-face hip-hop Never Look Back.Along with Twisted and I Got To Be Myself.Everything on this disc, from smooth to fusion-funk, has definitely got that head bop factor working for it.From first note to last, 2 REASONS from Jason Parra & the X Factor is a hip, today sounding project...These four guys create the base from which Jason Parra does his thing.An accomplished studio musician and singer/songwriter, Parra has performed and toured with over a dozen Grammy Award winning artists including Natalie Cole, the late Ray Charles, and Arturo Sandoval, just to name a few... Encouraged by friends and fellow artists, Jason decided it was time to consider releasing a debut solo album-----The album is Two Reasons.By combining Jason's talent, visual appeal/vocal ability; and his songwriting skills with those of Wayne Levy, Jason Parra and the X Factor are rising stars on the smooth jazz horizon and the ascension begins with Two Reasons.Review by Rachelle Bivins, Publisher/Abyss Jazz Magazine
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.