Julius Rodriguez gets experimental with debut album Let the Sound Tell All

Julius Rodriguez has come a long way since building up his jazz chops at the Smalls Jazz Club in New York at the age of 11. He’s since spent time as a member of the Onyx Collective, collaborated with members of the Wu-Tang Clan, and dropped out of Julliard to tour with rapper A$AP Rocky.

Now, the 23-year-old pianist, drummer, producer and composer has announced his debut album Let the Sound Tell All, coming out this summer on Verve Records.

Let the Sound Tell All is described as a daring statement about what the future of jazz can be. Mixing gospel, hip hop, pop, classical and R&B with experimental production techniques, Rodriguez has taken the vision of his project all the way. He wears his influences on his sleeve — including Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Solange, James Blake and Sampha — and weaves them into the building blocks of his experimentations.

You can listen to the lead single Gift of the Moon below.

Rodriguez says it’s “the first song I wrote that wasn’t a traditional jazz song, since there’s no solo section.” He says he struggled for years figuring out what to do with it, until in 2019 he asked trumpeter Giveton Gelin to solo over the recording.

Blown away by what Gelin sent back to him, Rodriguez couldn’t pick any of Gelin’s three takes, opting to use all of them at the same time, a production technique adapted from famed producer George Martin and his work with The Beatles. The result is a complex melodic structure on an overdubbed trumpet, paying homage to Roy Hargrove and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with a distinctly psychedelic character.

Here’s the track listing:

  1. Blues at the Barn
  2. All I Do
  3. Interlude
  4. Gift of the Moon
  5. Two Way Street
  6. Where Grace Abounds
  7. Elegy (for Cam)
  8. In Heaven
  9. Philip’s Thump

Julius Rodriguez’s Let the Sound Tell All will be released June 10 on Verve Records.