I saw a need for my own conscious revolution and now I'm sharing the vibe. Roots reggae rhythms, jazzy chords, and funky flavors; these are the sounds I love to arrange. True stories, messages, and requests; these are the lyrics I love to sing.
My sophomore album, Soul Garden Roots Version, was produced by Fully Fullwood, who's recorded bass guitar on countless reggae hits including "Sun Is Shining" by Bob Marley. Released April, 2016, the album features myself on vocals and keyboards, along with members of Jamaica's Soul Syndicate Band, including Santa Davis on drums, Tony Chin on guitar, Fully Fullwood on bass.As a Southern California native, my first exposure to music was jazz, rock and soul from my mom's 1960's record collection. After discovering roots reggae from friends in Laguna Beach, I became inspired by Jamaican keyboardists including Jackie Mittoo and Ossie Hibbert. My Grandfather played piano by ear to gospel programs on television. I looked at my reggae records like Grandpa Ray's TV programs, and began to play back some of the chords I could make out on songs like "Soon Forward" from Gregory Isaacs. Then I discovered Reggae Thursdays with World Anthem at the Sandpiper. Watching Trinidadian keyboardist, Jelani Jones, sing and bubble on the keyboards with his eyes closed was the coolest shit I've ever seen. It was like Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley said "try this man!".
Doors opened to support more reggae legends on the keyboards including Marcia Griffiths, Mighty Diamonds, Tippa Irie, Junior Reed, Cornel Campbell and the Rastafarians. I'm also a founding member of Lesterfari & Kings Music, a roots reggae band from Los Angeles, consisting of musicians from Boom Shaka, along with founding member of Steel Pulse, Ronnie Stepper.
The name Jah Mex was given to me by a close friend from Jamaica named Pablo, aka Purple Reggae. We used to cook almost every Sunday in my apartment. Pablo would make Rice & Peas and Jerk chicken. I'd cook Carne Asada tacos with mango salsa. One day I made tacos out of his jerk chicken and that's how I got my name. I experiment in the kitchen as much as I do with music, and certainly see a small Mexican/Jamaican fusion restaurant in the future.