Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Azzolina, Jay (James)
Azzolina, Jay (James) , guitarist; b. Meriden, CT, 23 December 1952. His father was James Azzolina and his mother was Irene Azzolina. He has one sister, Patricia Azzolina. At age seven, Jay began taking trumpet lessons from his dad (along with a few years of piano).
At around eleven, he got his hands on a Harmony guitar from his dad's music store and gradually made the switch from brass to strings. After high school, he spent a year at the Hartt School Of Music studying classical guitar with Alan Spriestersbach and Dick Provost before moving to Boston and attending the Berklee College Of Music, where he studied with Mick Goodrick, Charlie Banacos and Pat Metheny. Bachelors degree in Music Education, Berklee College Of Music.
After leaving Boston in 1981, he moved to New York where he soon began working with Michael Urbaniak, followed by Harvie Swartz, and later Spyro Gyra, which earned him a Grammy nomination in 1991.
He was also working and recording with artists such as Dave Samuels, Kenny Werner, Fred Hersch, Jeff Beal, David Mann, Ron McClure, Herbie Mann, Chuck Mangione, Jerry Bergonzi, Marc Copland and singers Michael Franks, Donna Summer, the Manhattan Transfer, Carly Simon, and Rickie Lee Jones.
In 1995 he received a M.F.A. from the Conservatory Of Music At Purchase NY. During this time he studied composition with Edgar Grana and began teaching at the Conservatory as well as at Manhattanville College.
In 1997, he became a member of the John Patitucci band, including several tours; one in Mexico City included Chris Potter and Adam Nussbaum. He continues to be active in performing, writing and teaching.
His wife Jill sings on his CD "Past Tense."
Never Too Late (1989); Past Tense (2000); Live At One Station Plaza (2002)
Jeff Beal: Liberation (1986); Roseanna Vitro: A Quiet Place (1987); Jeff Beal: Perpetual Motion (1988); David Mann: Games (1988); Harvie Swartz: It's About Time (1989); David Mann: Insight (1989); Spyro Gyra: Point Of View (1989), Fast Forward (1990), Collection (1991); Billy Townes: Embrace (1995); Closer To Your Tears, Ron McClure (1996); Michael Urbaniak: Yaro In New York (1998); Chuck Mangione: The Feelings Back (1999); Michael Franks: Barefoot On The Beach (1999); Chris Hunter: Goose The Pooche (1999); William Galison: Waking Up With You (2000); James Naughton: It's About Time (2002); Michael Franks: Watching the Snow (2003)
Bass Day 97, John Patitucci (1997); David Gage String Instruments Master Class Series, John Patitucci (2002)