Southern Californian keyboardist & vocalist, Jah Mex, has been learning, recording, and performing with reggae greats for over 20 years. Fully Fullwood, veteran bassist from Kingston, Jamaica has produced two albums and various singles for Jah Mex, including his latest single, “Even Number", released May, 2023.
Heavily infected by rock steady & reggae keyboard styles from Jamaica, Jah Mex's music also has hints of soul and jazz, coupled with conscious lyrics and militant drum and bass. His first album, Firm Soundation, was released in 2009 and features members of Soul Syndicate band on singles “Dub You” and “Like A Lion”. The follow up album, Soul Garden Roots Version, was released in 2015 and featurtes Soul Syndicate on all tracks with Santa Davis on drums, Fully Fullwood on bass, and Tony Chin on guitar.
Jah Mex is currently at work on his third album, Narrow Gates. The album's first single, "My Lane", was released February 12, 2020. A month later the pandemic hit. The evolution of remote recording during a time when live music was placed on pause influenced Jah Mex to colab with new musicians. In September of 2020, Jah Mex released self produced EP, Dub Clemente. The three-song-EP is mostly dub/instrumental featuring veteran session musicans Chuck Treece on drums, Stevie “Tiger Tone” Verhault on guitar, Fully Fullwood on bass, Jah Mex on keys, and special guests Lucian Lianti on melodica, and Cassie Chrisman on vocals.
Since live music has been back, Jah Mex has had a few live shows but mostly writing and recording for album three. His live shows are backed by The Translators with Jah Mex on keys, vocals and melodica, Ian Yzerman on bass, Albert Hurtado on guitar, Luis Small on percussions and rotating drummers: Blake Bartz, Tracy Sledge and Don Barthelemy. A high energy stage show, combined with spirit led connection to the audience has inspired new fans in various Socal venues.
As the son of Chicano parents from East L.A, Jah Mex was born in Whittier, CA and moved to Orange County at 7 years old. Struggling to adapt to an environment where kids judged each other by clothing labels, Jah Mex found his way first through bodyboarding and then reggae music at his first job pumping gas. Spending as much of his pay checks as he could on records, eventually Jah Mex began to play his moms piano to the Gregory Issacs album, Cool Ruler.
While attending Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, a friend told Jah Mex about a flyer on campus from a reggae band called Fresh Roots. They were looking for a keyboard player and he was about six months into learning. Jah Mex auditioned for the band at a back yard party and got the gig.
Fresh Roots had a weekly gig on Thursday nights in San Clemente at a sports bar called Sidelines when Jah Mex was 19. At 21 Jah Mex joined Orange County act, Four 20 Band, and they eventually toured Europe as the opening and backing band for international reggae artist, Eek A Mouse. For the next three years Jah Mex toured on and off with Four 20 Band and Eek A Mouse travelling to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and multiple West Coast runs.
As a freelance keyboardist, Jah Mex has played for Marcia Griffiths, Mighty Diamonds, Junior Ried, Cornel Campbell, Tippa Irie, The Melodians, Boom Shaka, Lloyd Hemmings and The Rastafarians. His keys are also on various recordings for artists produced by Fully Fullwood, including San Diego reggae group, Ginger Roots & The Protectors.
Aside from his own act, Jah Mex is a founding member of Los Angeles based reggae group, Lesterfari & Kings Music. In 2017 he also joined an emerging reggae band from North County San Diego called New Leaf, as a keyboardist.
The name “Jah Mex” was given in the kitchen by Jamaican friend, Pablo Crawford, after Jah Mex began to experiment with mixing Rice & Peas, Jerk Chicken and plantains into burritos. Over the years Jah Mex has had a vision of a kitchen with a stage where his friends could come jam and eat. But for now, music is on the menu with one simple request: Just Listen.