Jazz Trumpet Player Michael Rodriquez of New York City was born in Queens, New York on July 14, 1979. Michael's father is a drummer so he always had music playing in the house and his drums and other instruments laying around. Michael's brother - Robert Rodriguez - is a working jazz pianist in the Jazz scene in New York City. Michael relates, "I always fooled around with the drums, guitar, and my brothers alto saxophone which he used to play. In 1987, my family decided to move to Miami, Florida where I spent the latter years of my childhood into my teenage years. My first musical instrument was the guitar. I was learning classical music at the age of 10. When I turned 11, I was going to middle school and wanted to join the band program which my brother was already in. I had to choose a wind instrument because there were no guitar ensembles. I remember watching television with my dad and Dizzy Gillespie was playing. I was floored and decided then that I too wanted to play the trumpet. During that time, Arturo Sandoval had just arrived in the United States. Arturo was teaching at F.I.U. My mother kept trying to get a lesson for me with him and one day she was able to arrange one. I was 12 years old when I went to see Arturo so I had been playing a trumpet one year already. I have to say, I was pretty good for a beginning trumpet player. I was playing high G's already above the staff. When I went to see Arturo for my lesson, he changed my embouchure so it was like starting all over but for the better."
Michael went on to continue playing guitar and Trumpet at an arts high school in Miami called New World School of the Arts. Michael learned a great deal there and was very fortunate to have been surrounded by great young musicians. At 14, Michael got the chance to play for Wynton Marsalis in a clinic he gave in Miami. That was life changing for Michael because Wynton was very encouraging and warm towards Michael and still is to this day. Wynton was very cool to Michael. Wynton got Michael thinking about melody and phrasing at an early age. Michael did a tour with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra a couple of years ago, and Michael reminded Wynton of that experience and Wynton remembered. Michael relates, "One thing that has stuck with me from that experience was listening and watching trumpet being played on a worldly level. I was 14 years old and had never experienced that."
Michael Rodriguez went on to the University of Miami after high school and completed two years before transferring to the New School University in New York City where he got his Bachelor of Arts degree. Being at the University of Miami was a great musical and learning experience. Michael started listening to different trumpet players. Kenny Wheeler was introduced to Michael so he started checking out Kenny's music. Unbelievable! Michael was placed in the CJB (the top big band) in his second semester as a freshman. Michael was surrounded by master and doctoral students and guys who have been on the touring scene for over 20 years. That was a good kick in the butt for Michael. Michael got his reading chops together in that band. Michael then decided to transfer to New York City again. Michael was 19 years old when he made the move to New York City. It was the summer of 1999 and Michael was hitting the jazz clubs and checking everybody out. Michael introduced himself to guys and befriended a lot of good cats. While Michael was at the New School, he split his trumpet studies between Lori Frink and Joe Magnarelli. Michael learned a ton from Lori about building his chops and getting a round sound throughout the horn. With Joe, Michael learned harmony and how life experiences can be incorporated in ones improvisation. Michael states, "There is a lot of life in Mags playing and he elevated my listening chops." Michael later went on to take a few trumpet lessons with Ryan Kisor and Lew Soloff. They were great life trumpet teachers as well. Michael laughs, "Lew still owes me a couple of lessons. He has really looked out for me here in New York City so I owe him a great deal for that."
Jazz Trumpet Player Michael Rodriguez started working with local bands and wedding bands. Michael says he got his first "real Jazz gig," with the Eric Reed Quintet. Remembers Michael, "It was a great starting point because we were playing jazz festivals around the states. Then Eric asked me to record a couple of tunes on his recording entitled Happiness. That was fun. I started getting calls for a lot of sub work in Big Bands around town. One band that comes to mind right away was the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra. She had monday nights at Birdland and I use to get called to come in and play that gig. That was a seriously hard book and any other trumpet player that has played that book will agree."
In 2003, Michael and his jazz pianist brother Robert Rodriguez decided to record their first album entitled "Introducing the Rodriguez Brothers." The Rodriguez Brothers are very proud of that jazz recording because they both feel that it is a great documentation of their playing at that time. Michael then started getting calls for a lot of fun and inspiring gigs with different artists. In 2004' Charlie Haden called Michael to record on his project "Land of the Sun" which eventually won a Grammy Award. Gonzalo Rubalcaba recommended Michael to Charlie and they toured Europe in the summer of 2005. Charlie then asked Michael to join the Liberation Music Orchestra which toured Europe and the states. Michael recommended Seneca Black an old buddy from high school when another trumpet player was needed.
Michael relates, "It was a great life experience to be on the road with Charlie. Just to hear all the stories of back in the day and to hear him play. I will forever cherish those times."
Robert and I decided to make another Rodriguez Brothers recording entitled "Conversations" and this project was put out on the Savant Label. Again, we are proud of that recording for the same reasons as the first recording together. We hope to continue with the Rodriguez Brothers projects and also put out solo recordings as well. - Michael Rodriguez
Jazz Trumpet Player Michael Rodriguez is a Yamaha Performing Artist. Michael plays a Yamaha 8310 Z Professional Bb Trumpet and Yamaha Professional Model 8315G Flugelhorn. Michael has been playing a Monette B6 trumpet mouthpiece for the last 10 years. Says Michael ... " practice your craft everyday, maintain an open mind and ear, always be on time, and most importantly have your attitude and ego in check." Michael list Clifford Brown, Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy, Fats, Woody Shaw, Tom Harrell, Kenny Dorham, Don Cherry, Miles, Louis Armstrong, Maurice Andre, Chet Baker, Chapotin as his heroes.