Jesse Boyd is one of the busiest players with one of the most impressive resumes on the New Orleans music scene. His flawless technique, flowing lines and great sensitivity combine to deliver raw and dynamic live performances. He is also a very much in-demand studio bassist.
His incredible skills for improvisation had their roots in Church, where his father was a minister. As the son of a preacher and pianist, Boyd began playing in church – first on piano and then moving to bass at age 8. His father, whom he describes as an excellent pianist, wanted his son to read music so he made sure he took private lessons. Boyd was 12 when he made his first gospel recording. It was when he was a high school student in South Carolina that he realized the relationship between the music he’d been playing and jazz – both, he discovered, had elements of swing and improvisation.
At age 18, he moved to Los Angeles, where he discovered the possibilities of rock and played with many touring bands. He attended college in “a bunch of places,” always giving it up to perform. He settled in to receive his Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola University and his Masters in Jazz Performance at the University of New Orleans. He studied with the great New Orleans bassist Bill Huntington to whom he gives huge amounts of credit. It was a reference from Huntington that landed Boyd a teaching job at Loyola University, where he heads classes in bass, theory and combo. He also teaches similar classes at Delgado University.
He performs regularly with Charmaine Neville, Ingrid Lucia, Leah Chase, Bob French, Michael Pellera, Al Belletto, Ellis Marsalis, Topsy Chapman, and Larry Sieberth to name just a few. He also spent several years performing as a member of Jeremy Davenport’s band.
His new album, True Stories (which is available for digital download on iTunes from his own label Contrabass Music) is all about modern jazz and film score-like songs. Other recent recordings include three complete albums with Ingrid Lucia, a recording with Michael Pellera and Joe Dyson, and his own CD of original compositions.