Seeing Sounds
Release Date: March 29, 2024

Drummer-composer Willy Rodriguez proudly announces the release of his debut album Seeing Sounds. Joining the Puerto Rico-born, New York based musician on his expansive debut is trumpeter Jason Palmer, saxophonist Hery Paz, pianist Leo Genovese, bassists John Hébert and Kenneth Jimenez, and special guest artist, saxophonist Dave Liebman, and sound designer Tehn Vega

Avant-garde philosophies provide precarious but often brilliant edges to how open or free improvisation function in Jazz. Complex, chaotic, and often dissonant, this sub-genre challenges traditional structures, and when transcendent, incorporates an advanced and unconventional level of mastery. Avant-garde artists travel to curious destinations using peculiar forms specifically designed for their mercurial adventures. In the process, audience engagement requires a nuanced understanding of tone, touch, voice and the fluid organic structures that creatively bind them all together. In this regard, drummer Willy Rodriguez has spent his entire professional career preparing to explore these unique types of musical relationships.

Born in Puerto Rico, the son of a timbalero, Rodríguez’s rhythmic journey also began on the timbales, developing hand skills by playing in Latin rock bands that made up his crash course on Puerto Rico’s remarkably diverse Afro-Caribbean musical culture. High school brought an introduction to the drums as formal training blossomed into an invitation to a coveted summer program at the Berklee College of Music in San Juan, Puerto Rico. By the time he left the island to attend Berklee, Rodríguez had already dabbled in pop, rock, metal and Latin Jazz. Humbled by Boston’s deep Jazz drum culture, Rodríguez dove head first into his studies absorbing the influences of legends like Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Roy Haynes, Jack DeJohnette and Terri Lyne Carrington. Rodríguez eventually settled in New York City, where he currently resides. Over the course of his twenty-year career, including his decade in New York, Rodriguez has worked with an expansive list of jazz heavyweights including George Garzone, Melissa Aldana, John Ellis, and more. 

Concurrently, Rodriguez’s musical palette continued to flourish. In 2019, he recorded with Chilean superstar Mon Laferte, and earned a Latin Grammy for his contributions to her highly regarded album Norma. In 2022, Rodriguez stepped into the legendary drum chair of progressive rock band The Mars Volta for their much-anticipated, eponymous reunion album, following in the footsteps of great drummers Jon Theordore, Deantoni Parks, and Thomas Pridgen. Expanding his range and exploring new musical avenues, Rodriguez continued to hear the call of an odd opportunity - various invitations to explore free improvisation. Perhaps the most important voice aiding this momentum was Dave Liebman, the storied multi-instrumentalist whose career spans decades of innovation within and outside of traditional contemporary Jazz.

Rodriguez’s initial hesitation finally gave way as Liebman and others eventually persuaded him to dive into the deep end of their pool. Always striving to compliment his surroundings, Rodriguez quickly discovered a new scope of expression that would challenge his ability to listen while accentuating the diverse skill set he’d manicured throughout his burgeoning career. Suddenly freedom and adventure reigned supreme. “That sense of connection,” as Rodriguez recalls it, “continually searching for something. I became addicted to that and now it always shows up when I play.” And his search continues with Seeing Sounds, featuring many of his long-time collaborators. 

Two of the oldest key collaborators include Jason Palmer, with whom Rodriguez has performed with since his earliest days in Boston, cutting his teeth at the famous Wally’s Jazz Club. Palmer had a steady gig at the establishment, and Rodriguez would often run the jam sessions preceding Jason’s hit, leading to a long-standing musical connection that perseveres to this day, and is in full bloom on Seeing Sounds. Leo Genovese is another long-time musical partner dating back to 2009. Also a musical polymath, Genovese and Rodriguez have shared many musical settings together, from sets at Smalls Jazz Club to The Mars Volta.

 

KEN MICALLEF
DOWNBEAT

"He's like a sonic astronaut, comfortable jamming on genres that are as far apart as Mars' fiery planes are from the Moon's cool, cratered landscape" Check out the full feature here

PIERRE GIROUX
NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD
'Willy Rodriguez' self- released debut album, Seeing Sounds, catapults listeners into a mesmerizing realm that pushes the boundaries of traditional structures and embraces the risky yet often brilliant edges of open and free improvisation'. Check out the full review here.

 

RAUL DA GAMA
THAT CANADIAN MAGAZINE
"Of course, this quietly sensational recording belongs to Mr Rodriguez, who puts his mark on his exciting original compositions and on the varied fare designed to express – with poetic touch – the sparkling cascades of rippling music on an album that intrigues as it dazzles, from start to finish" Check out the full review here.

 

 

MARK GRIFFITHS
MODERN DRUMMER
"With Seeing Sounds Willy Rodriguez is under the radar no more!" Check out the full review here.

 

 

 

THIERRY DE CLEMENSAT
PARIS-MOVE
"He goes much further than most drummers, approaching the work of an elegant percussionist who offers incredibly interesting and even exciting sounds and spaces for the musicians he accompanies." Read more here.

DICK METCALF
CONTEMPORARY FUSION REVIEWS

"Deliciously dynamic jazz drum debut." Read the full review here.

 

 

DELEIN
DISTRITO JAZZ
"En la medida de lo posible es bueno romper moldes y lugares comunes y Willy Rodríguez lo logra con ‘Seeing Sounds’'. Para leer esta reseña presione aquí.

 

DEE DEE McNEIL
MUSICAL MEMOIRS

"This is a deep listening excursion". Check out the full feature here

JIM HYNES
MAKING A SCENE
"His debut brims with a wealth of contagious energy." Check out the full review here.

 

 

HÉCTOR MARTÍN
CANCIÓN  A QUEMARROPA

Para leer este anuncio presione aquí.

 

EFRAÍN ALAVEZ
CONTRATIEMPO JAZZ
Willy Rodriguez, baterista y compositor puertorriqueño radicado en Nueva York nos platica de su álbum debut “Seeing Sounds” que será lanzado el viernes 29 de Marzo de 2024. Para ver esta entrevista presione aquí.

 

AL HERRERA
CONTRATIEMPO JAZZ
"Cada pista ofrece una experiencia sonora única, desde paisajes sonoros expansivos hasta improvisaciones virtuosas, capturando la esencia del talento y la innovación de Rodríguez". Para leer esta reseña presione aquí.

 

 

VICENTE TOLEDO
FUNDACIÓN NACIONAL PARA LA CULTURA POPULAR
"Seeing Sounds’ es un encuentro de Rodríguez y sus amigos, que evocan magistralmente la encomienda del jazz, la improvisación. De una manera ingeniosa de imprimir sonoridad con una amplia gama de colores. Bravo debut de Willy Rodríguez." Para leer esta reseña presione aquí.

 

RICHARD ALLEN
A CLOSER LISTEN 
"Willy Rodriguez is Seeing Sounds on his debut release, his synesthetic vision strong." More here.

 

 

VICENTE TOLEDO
LA FUNDACIÓN NACIONAL PARA LA CULTURA POPULAR

"‘Seeing Sounds’ es un manjar de la improvisación libre que utiliza de forma ingeniosa lo que es la investigación musical." Para leer más presione aquí.

TOMAS PEÑA
JAZZDELAPENA

Read more about this announcement here.