“I chose the title “Liminality” for this one as I believe it describes how I feel about my life (and the world) at the moment; I am in the middle stage of a musical and personal transformation. I am chasing my musical voice, and while I am not there yet, I believe I stand at the threshold.”
Cd. Juárez, Mexico - Jesus Fuentes, DMA candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is releasing his debut recording “Liminality: Live at Smith 25” on all digital platforms on January 22nd, 2021. This album is a testament to Jazz musicians’ desire to create and express themselves during times of a Global Pandemic. “So many of my favorite Jazz recordings happened live in concert: My Funny Valentine (Miles Davis), Benny Green Trio Live at the Village Vanguard or Bill Evans Sunday at the Village Vanguard are examples of records that have had a deep impact on me. These live concerts are full of magical moments fueled by spontaneity and interaction that were luckily recorded for posterity. The first recital for my doctoral degree was approaching and I was thinking to myself how I have never recorded any of my concerts.
I bought a portable recorder and a bunch of microphones a week before the actual performance just because I wanted to keep these memories of a milestone in my academic career and I would be able to listen to myself playing with great friends and peers. Fortunately for me, the mic placement worked out very well, and even more incredible, a portable recorder that I was using to record the saxophone ran out of memory literally after the last note Matt played that night. To me, it was a sign I had to release this.” The performance took place Friday, November 13th, 2020 at Smith Memorial Hall’s Room 25 – a multipurpose classroom/hall with a brand-new concert Steinway.
The room that would’ve been filled with students, teachers, family, and friends, was empty; neon pink tape over the seats and on the floor, marking the spot for student musicians to be distantly safe while performing, and signs reminding them to wear masks and wipe down the equipment with alcohol wipes. The performance was live-streamed to about 80 participants that tuned in from 6 different countries. This short album contains the first and only takes of these tunes played from beginning to end. Hopefully, it evokes the spirit of Jazz musicians. A socially distant quartet performing for a virtual audience.
Jesús Andrés Fuentes Valverde was born in Cd. Juarez, Mexico. He is an active pianist, arranger and educator. Jesús holds a MM in Jazz Piano Performance from Texas Tech University and a BM in Commercial Music from the University of Texas at El Paso.
Jesús has received multiple academic awards throughout his music studies including a Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 2020. Jesús was sponsored by the Promising Artists of the 21st Century Jazz Program to travel to Colombia as a member of the UTEP Jazz Quartet to perform and give masterclasses in 2016, and receiving the 2015 Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award at the University of Texas at El Paso.