Jessy Arellano -- more commonly known as Jessy J -- has been called the queen of contemporary sax.
She has a way with blending Latin with contemporary jazz that always comes out as a smooth jazz sound.
Arellano brings her unique sound to the Mid-Columbia for a concert at Benton City's Canon de Sol Winery on Sept. 19. Tickets cost $95 and include food and wine. Also performing will be guitarist Michael Powers and Eddie Manzaneres & Cafe Blanco.
Arellano was considered a piano prodigy at age 4 and won a state piano championship in California at age 15. But it was the saxophone that eventually lured her from the piano, she told the Herald.
"I rented my first sax at age 9," she said. "It allows me to express myself better than other musical genres."
Born in Portland and raised in California, Arellano went on to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland after high school. She attended the University of Southern California on a scholarship, earning a degree in jazz studies. She was named the most outstanding jazz student at USC.
With all that jazz being a part of her musical soul, she decided to incorporate the word into her stage name. The J in Jesse J stands for Jazz. She also plays multiple instruments besides the sax and piano. Add to those the flute and keyboards along with soprano, alto and baritone saxophones. And she sings too.
Arellano has toured with The Temptations, Jessica Simpson, Michael Bolton and Seal, and was a member of Henry Mancini's jazz orchestra for a time. And though many great musicians move her today, she gives special praise to Sergio Mendes, Ricky Martin and Shakira.
"They influenced my music as being crossover material in both Spanish and English," she said.
Since 2008, Arellano has earned numerous awards, including song of the year from Billboard magazine and debut artist of the year from Jazztrax. Her album Hot Sauce went to No. 1 in 2011 on the Billboard jazz charts.
"I still play piano," she said. "But I love the expression of the saxophone. It sounds like the human voice."
Her show at the winery won't disappoint, she added.
"Our show is pure Latino jazz with R&B influences," Arellano said. "Everybody will have a great time."
The winery is at 46415 E. Badger Road in Benton City. For tickets, go to riverfrontconcerts.com.
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dorioneal