"Celebration Of Soul's dreamy soundscapes give way to catchy funky noodling but it's the more reflective moments that give one pause to consider Maxey a potential great.... The wealth of extremes on this Celebration gives it the kind of listenability that bodes well for repeated spins. I swear, I hear new things on it with each listen. That, right there, is the essence of a keeper."– Mike Greenblatt, Classicalite
Originally from Roanoke, Virginia, Josh Maxey began playing guitar at age 12. After hearing John Coltrane's A Love Supreme a few years later, he knew that the music touched the heights of human expression and began working to do the same on the guitar. After receiving a solid foundation from his teacher in southwestern Virginia, Maxey relocated to New York City in 1998 where he attended The Jazz and Contemporary Music Program at The New School, studying with such renowned artists as Chico Hamilton who was an early supporter. Maxey also began formal studies with guitarist Rodney Jones who became a friend and mentor. Theirs became a master/apprentice relationship.
Working with Jones on recording projects and performances, Maxey interacted with and learned from such illustrious jazz figures as Dr. Lonnie Smith, Maceo Parker, Idris Muhammad, Donald Harrison and Carl Allen. In addition, social occasions brought Maxey into contact with some of his favorite musicians including George Benson, Doug and Jean Carn, Ed Cherry and Bruce Johnson, all of whom became informal mentors.
These formative experiences found expressive shape in 2011 when Maxey decided to record six albums in 12 months. Incarnate, Approach, The Language of Sound and Spirit, Argument for the Blues, Light Cycles and Cycles of Sound were then released over the following two years. The albums, Blues in the Kitchen and Rhythm of the Sound Current were released next, followed by a retrospective of the series, Completing the Cycle.
Maxey’s current recording, Celebration of Soul –released on Miles High Records–is the 10th recording in the series, a project that has now encompassed 50 original compositions and 20 different musicians. Drawing on the message of John Coltrane, one of Maxey’s earliest and most significant influences, Celebration of Soul honors the spiritual tradition in jazz improvisation. "For me, sound is a sacred artistic medium,” Maxey says. “Music is able to express the many peaks and valleys of being human, even beyond words. It opens up a space within the listener to identify with a greater state of being and makes it possible for a person to perceive and take their own next steps. I have found that music, and sound is able take us closer to the source of meaning and purpose than I had even imagined."
After 15 years in New York, in 2013 Maxey and his wife moved to Denver, Colorado where he continues to write, perform, record and teach. His music reflects his many musical influences: John Coltrane, Rodney Jones, Grant Green, McCoy Tyner, Nathan Page, Doug Carn and Jimmy Page, among others.
Josh Maxey is a D'Angelico Artist.
Mirror of Soul
Music has been a beacon, a teacher and a mirror. My earliest memories are of music playing loudly in my family's car and around the house when I was a child. The sound imbued the air with vibrations that blurred the lines between what I heard and my own thoughts and dreams.
For me, the creative current in Sound unlocks worlds of love, meaning and purpose. I have found music to be closer to this source than I even imagined. The first time I heard this directly articulated was John Coltrane's A Love Supreme. I heard the first two songs (on tape!) and knew that this was a height of creative expression. The feeling I got from the music told me it was possible to blend the personal or spiritual journey and the musical one.
I have found that music can accesses states of consciousness and serve as a window or springboard into those areas. To me, the combinations of notes and the intent they are played with matter deeply. Music gives insight, via a language beyond words, into lifetimes of the many peaks and valleys of being human. It gives listeners a chance to lose themselves and find so very much in those same moments. It communicates beyond time. As it is played, I believe it becomes the listeners as much as it is the musicians. The experience of hearing the sound is tailor fit to each listener and can be a pass key to the most fundamental part of the self.
I have been a student of listening and playing music. As a guitarist, working towards excellence and constant advancement are ongoing goals that have become daily companions. So are the many bumps and moments of doubt along the way! This study, as well as family and dear ones has been one of my lifetimes greatest teachers. Music is both a demanding and giving mentor. It is up to my work and readiness to take the next steps.
Many people love music deeply. I'm grateful to be a fan and a musician. I invite you to listen to the sounds on this site with a spirit of openness and as you listen to your favorite music reflect on what insights are gained in listening. For me, music is a mirror of soul. I have found the moments listening to my favorite recordings to be some of the most insightful and healing of times.
Musicians of the Series
Rodney Jones is a legendary guitar player. His first gigs included Chico Hamilton and Dizzy Gillespie. He is currently the jazz guitar professor at Juilliard School of Music. He plays on Incarnate, produced The Language of Sound and Spirit and guitar on Celebration of Soul.
Brian Charette plays organ on the upcoming 2016 trio release, Celebration of Soul, Approach and The Language of Sound and Spirit. He plays piano on Rhythm of the Sound Current and keyboards on Light Cycles. Brian was voted number one rising star jazz organ in the 2014 Downbeat Magazine poll. Brian tours the world with his band and has multiple recordings.
McClenty Hunter plays drums on the upcoming 2016 trio release, Incarnate and Approach. He has played with many of the best bandleaders around today and is currently Kenny Garrett's drummer.
Jeff Jenkins plays piano on the new material featured on Completing the Cycle and also organ as keys for performances here in Colorado. Jeff plays often around CO, his group The Organization is featured every week at Dazzle Jazz Club in Denver. He teaches at Colorado State University.
Andy Gabrys has mixed, mastered and co produced the series. A great guitarist, he is very skilled on the production side of music also. He brings the same level of detail and mastery to the sound of the series as the players do to their instruments on each recording.
Chase Baird plays saxophones on Celebration of Soul, The Language of Sound and Spirit and Cycles of Sound. Chase records and performs with his own band in NYC and around the world.
Evan Pazner plays drums on Light Cycles. Evan plays around NYC often and is the drummer for Lee Fields and the Expressions.
Dave Parnell produced Incarnate. He plays acoustic guitar on Celebration of Soul. His bands, Butch Parnell & Runaway Dorothy gains more and more national attention all the time. They are frequently featured on Adam Duritz's Outlaw RoadShow.
Rob Woodcock plays bass on Light Cycles. He lives in California and plays on both coasts. He is a teacher and was a fellow member of Plan A from 2001-2004.
David Nicholson plays acoustic guitar on The Language of Sound and Spirit, Blues in the Kitchen and guitar and vocals on Argument for the Blues. He is a world class master painter and an expert blues musician. We have played about five thousand hours worth of music together.
Jessica Martinez Maxey plays Native American flutes on The Language of Sound and Spirit and Light Cycles. I also work with her on her music. She is a two time 2014 Indian Summer Music Award winner and Native American Music Award nominee for our second album, Dance of the Soul. We are featured on Putumayo Presents Native America and her first album All My Blessings received multiple award nominations. She is a lovely lady and beautiful mother to our little girl, Mayu.
Paul Shaw plays drums on the new material featured on Completing the Cycle. He is a great drummer and a lot of fun to play with. He is an Air Force musician and teacher. He keeps a very busy performing schedule in CO and NYC.
Ken Walker plays bass on the new material featured on Completing the Cycle. Ken is a tremendous musician living in CO. His band has a monthly performance at Dazzle Jazz Club and he is the bass instructor at CU Denver.
Jeremy Noller plays drums on Celebration of Soul, The Language of Sound and Spirit, Blues in the Kitchen, and Cycles of Sound. He keeps busy performing and teaching in NYC.
Aaron James plays bass on Incarnate. Aaron plays often in NYC and is the bassist for Gregory Porter's band.
Mike Cioffero plays acoustic guitar on The Language of Sound and Spirit and slide guitar on Celebration of Soul. He is a great musician and teacher. He teaches music at a few of the most prestigious schools in NYC.
John Tate plays bass on Cycles of Sound and Rhythm of the Sound Current. I met John just as he was finishing up an artist diploma at Juilliard where he toured around the world playing and teaching.
David Lantz plays piano on Cycles of Sound. David is a great musician that added so much to the album. He plays often in the north east and around the US.
Brett Parnell plays pedal steel guitar on Celebration of Soul's Brooklyn Sunrise and Colorado Sunset. He also plays in 350, an band that's an original blend of classical composition and indy rock.