Like most musicians, Jazzy Blue has had other lines of work. Jazzy likes to say that he’s “had nine lives.” He holds an advanced degree in Theology, has been the pastor of two churches; he was a fireman while in the United States Air Force, and he worked as a mobile and overhead crane operator. After that, he spent 10 years working as an academic advisor at the university level and, finally, was the Coordinator of Student Affairs at a major U.S. law school. Suffice it to say, Jazzy’s resume is rather diverse.
In what he refers to as a “spiritual conversion,” Jazzy discovered his calling after being saved. He had never sung before, but he knew it was what he was meant to do. “It was just me and the pastor in the church that night” says Jazzy. “I had to go. I had to find what I was looking for. I knew I was supposed to sing.”
Starting on his musical journey, the revelation hit him. “I knew three things. First, I knew that I had found what I was missing. The second thing I knew was that I’d found what I was supposed to do. And the third thing I knew was that I was going to play that organ over in the corner of the church.”
Needless to say, Jazzy learned to play that organ. In fact, he learned to play so well that he soon found himself working with the likes of Andrew Woolfolk of Earth, Wind & Fire, the late Bobby Parker and the late Big Jack Johnson, with whom he toured Europe and Australia. The latter tour convinced Jazzy to play music full time and, in 2000, he quit his day job and found his way down to St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he spent the next 16 years.
When gigs started to slow in St. Croix, some friends, including one who’d lived on the island, convinced him that St. Augustine was where he should go. Once again, Jazzy pulled up his tent stakes and made his move. His very first job in St. Augustine was downtown at Tempo, and he was booked weekly. “It wasn’t a lot of money, but it was a regular gig.”
In St. Augustine since 2016, Jazzy has cemented his place in the local music scene. He’s been a regular at places like Salt Life and Tempo, but he considers Ann O’Malley’s his home away from home. “That was the first place to really treat me like family.” These days, he’s easy to find around town, and he’s always looking to add new venues to an already impressive list. He’s recently booked gigs at The Reef, Zaharia’s, Tides Oyster Co., Guy Harvey, Hurricane Patty’s, and Hurricane Grill & Wings, so the opportunities to catch his show will be plentiful.
“I love how I was embraced and encouraged when I first got here; by musicians, fans and establishments,” says Jazzy. “My friends were right. There are so many places to play. So much live music and so many venues. This just might be the happiest place I’ve ever lived.”
Learn more about Jazzy Blue and his music by visiting www.facebook.com/jazzyblueband. Photography by Steve Parr.