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An Outstanding Tiny Desk Concert: Julius Rodriguez

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There was a palpable curiosity in the audience as to who Julius Rodriguez was before the artist and his band took their places behind the Desk. But the crowd was headbanging as soon as the grooves started. The band’s energy emanated into the crowd, and it was like we were teleported to a house show with old friends. There weren’t many words exchanged throughout this 23-minute set, just hearty laughs and chuckles, juxtaposed by virtuosic playing. “I’m not a big words guy,” Rodriguez said towards the end of his performance, “but I will say that being here is such an honor and a dream come true. I’m very glad to have some of my best friends and the greatest musicians in the world with me.”

While the New York-bred and Los Angeles-based pianist and multi-instrumentalist has been regarded as a young master in the jazz world, his sophomore album, Evergreen, expands his sound beyond any simple categorization. Backed by Brian Richburg Jr on drums, Philip Norris on upright bass, Alonzo Demetrius on trumpet and Chris Lewis on sax, they kick off the performance with the infectious, gospel-tinged “Run To It (The CP Song).” Rodriguez follows with the uplifting “Around The World,” as he shows off his chops in a dizzying whirl of solos that transition seamlessly into a moving tribute, “Elegy (For Cam),” dedicated to the late actor Cameron Boyce, and then into the lush and soulful “Love Everlasting.” Returning to his debut album Let Sound Tell All, Rodriguez closes his set with “Gift Of The Moon.”

— Ashley Pointer | July 10, 2024

“Run To It (The CP Song)”
“Around The World”
“Elegy (For Cam)”
“Love Everlasting”
“Gift Of The Moon”

Julius Rodriguez: keys
Alonzo Demetrius: trumpet, flugelhorn
Chris Lewis: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Philip Norris: bass
Brian Richburg Jr: drums

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