Alex W. Rodriguez is a writer, trombonist and PhD student in Ethnomusicology at UCLA, studying with Steven Loza and James Newton.
Growing up in Portland, OR, he took up the trumpet at age 10 and switched to the euphonium two years later. His developing interest in jazz and his work with Portland-area trombonist and educator Ben Medler led him to the trombone shortly thereafter. In 2001, he was a part of Medler’s first Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra, which has grown into a pillar of the Portland jazz education community. He also wrote a lot, publishing an occasional series on college admission for The Oregonian, winning writing awards from Academic All-Stars and NCTE and co-founding Wilson High School’s award-winning Speech and Debate Team (2009 State Champions!)
From July through December of 2005, Alex lived in Santiago, Chile, where he performed with jazz musicians in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. Performances included his participation in the 6th annual Trombonanza trombone festival, and gigs with Los Andes Big Band at LaPaz Festijazz and El Club de Jazz de Santiago.
Alex graduated with his BA in Music in 2007 from Amherst College, the first Trombone Performance major in the College’s history. While at Amherst, he studied with David Sporny and Tim Atherton and performed with two of Amherst’s premier party bands, The Shark Spaceship and The Funk Department. His senior recital, “The Slide Show: A Tribute to Eight Trombonists of Personal and Historical Significance” featured the works of Tommy Dorsey, Lawrence Brown, Al Grey, Jack Teagarden, Bennie Green, JJ Johnson, Kai Winding and Fred Wesley.
After Amherst, Alex lived in Oakland, CA where he played, taught, went broke, and realized that he didn’t want to be a professional musician. In January 2009, he completed an MA in Jazz History and Research at Rutgers University, studing with Conrad Herwig, Lewis Porter, Henry Martin and John Howland. His MA thesis, “White and Blue: Alternate Takes on Jack Teagarden” is a four-part analysis of the jazz influence of one of the first great jazz trombonists, Jack Teagarden. He has contributed to jazz.com’s Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians, as well as jazz-related coverage for The Star-Ledger, Hartford Advocate, NPR Music, and WBGO.
Alex can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org — if you would like to send CDs for review or other promotional materials for new jazz, please e-mail him for a physical address.