Jazz saxophonist Jessy J was born Jessica Arellano in Portland, Oregon to parents who had emigrated from Mexico.
She grew up in Hemet, California and began playing the piano at age four, spending her childhood studying and performing in musical competitions. At 15, she was named Piano State Champion at the Béla Bartók Festival in California. Later, she switched instruments to the saxophone. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in jazz studies, she turned professional, finding work backing Michael Bublé in the recording studio and playing in the touring bands for the Temptations, Jessica Simpson, Michael Bolton, Gloria Trevi, and Armando Manzanero. In 2004, she joined the touring cast of the off-Broadway musical Blast! as a singer/actress/dancer/saxophonist and toured with the show in the U.S., the U.K., and Japan. Producer/guitarist Paul Brown first gave her a featured spot in his show on February 14, 2006, after which she began to make appearances on her own, her first major show occurring at the Catalina JazzTrax Festival later in 2006. She issued a self-titled album in 2007, then signed to Peak Records for her second CD, Tequila Moon, released on March 4, 2008. True Love followed a year later, with Hot Sauce, featuring guest spots from Joe Sample, Paul Brown, Harvey Mason, Ray Parker, Jr., and Saunders Sermons appearing in 2011. In 2013, Jessy J moved to the Shanachie label for Second Chances, which featured guest appearances from Jeff Lorber and Norman Brown. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi