In 1975, who would have thought there would be a concert performance celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Springsteen’s epic, Born to Run? Now, Exit Zero Jazz Festival has commissioned vocalist, drummer, composer and arranger Paul Jost, himself a native of the Garden State, to reimagine in a jazz context the music of Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run. The concert will take place on Friday, May 29, 2015 at 8 p.m. on the Bob Simon Memorial Stage at the Cape May Convention Hall with Joey Alexander and his trio opening, the 11 year old jazz piano prodigy.
Inviting Paul Jost to arrange and present Springsteen’s Born to Run was an easy selection according to Michael Kline, Producer of Exit Zero. He said, “When we began to think about the Springsteen project with its obvious connections to New Jersey, and how best to make clear the not so obvious connection Born to Run has to the jazz world, we began to think about an artist who could take the ideas and make it work for a festival audience. It took us about a half of a second before we selected Paul Jost.”
The innovative Paul Jost, a popular performer in the region who is becoming known on the international jazz scene, is a prolific arranger and composer. He has written over 40 CD’s, including the highly acclaimed song “Book Faded Brown,” that has been recorded by The Band, Carl Perkins and Rick Danko and is included in his latest recording “Breaking Through” (Dot Time Records.)
The Springsteen project is an exciting venture for Jost. He feels very appreciative of this opportunity and said, “I’m honored to have been tapped by Michael Kline, as the person to re-imagine the music of such an iconic artist from my native state. I love the images Springsteen paints with his lyrics and they serve as the inspiration for our reinvention of the music.” This is, in a way, a collaborative effort by Jost. In addition to his arrangements, Jost has asked internationally renowned vibraphonist Tony Miceli and legendary musician Barry Miles to write arrangements as well. Jost has assembled an incredible band made up of great artists and friends that include Jim Ridl-piano, John Swana-E.V.I., Chico Huff-bass, Anwar Marshall-drums, and vibraphonist Tony Miceli.”
Jost, who performs frequently in the Philadelphia and South Jersey region, has extended his stage credits to New York, Germany and South Korea. This year, he’s been performing at the well-known New York jazz club, 55 Bar, and this April he performed in Germany at Jazzahead!, the world’s largest jazz conference. With his band, The Jost Project – who perform the classic rock of the 60’s and 70’s in a jazz format, he toured South Korea last summer.
Originally a drummer, over the years Jost’s musical talents extended to guitar and harmonica, but it’s his voice that truly makes him a standout. His vocals are so soulful that music critic Buster Maxwell wrote, “He nearly single-handedly reclaims the male voice as a valid and critically important jazz instrument.” Peter McLaren in Jazz in Europe wrote about his new album and said, With “Breaking Through”, Paul Jost has shown that he is a force to be reckoned with and an artist that deserves to be seen on all great festival stages worldwide. This album is one of the best jazz CD’s I’ve had the pleasure of listening to.” Music Journalist Esther Berlanga-Ryan said, “Paul Jost is the very essence of Vocal Jazz today. Breaking Through is an album filled with beauty and perfection.”
Jost is involved in many exciting projects including the release of two recordings with Dot Time Records in a one-year period. His first solo CD is appropriately titled Breaking Through because he, literally, breaks through traditional boundaries and conventions in each song on the album. His arrangements are being applauded as much as his voice. In August, 2013, the album Can’t Find My Way Home was released by Dot Time Records, performed by The Jost Project, the band launched by vibraphonist Tony Miceli and including bassist Kevin MacConnell, drummer Charlie Patierno and Paul as vocalist/harmonicist/arranger.
In addition, there are many other music collaborations he is involved in that include performances and recordings. He sings in The Diane Monroe Sextet, “What is This Thing Called Freedom” featuring violinist Diane Monroe. In the past few years, Paul has recorded three separate duo projects. One with bassist Tim Lekan, Side by Side (Independent), a second with flutist Mark Adler, Silver Whispers (Arabesque,) and a third (to be released late in 2014), Where We Meet with pianist, Frank Strauss. Jost is both singer and arranger in the jazz ensembles Antfarm Quartet featuring pianist Jim Ridl, Tim Lekan and drummer Bob Shomo. His recently released work includes CD’s with: Antfarm Quartet Dialogues Pt. 2 and Live @ The Colony Theater, (Dreambox Media); Andy Lalasis Fret Not (Independent), Carolyn Nelson Come a Little Closer (Independent) and as drummer for Susan Goodman’s Central Park West and vocalist on her, Live Out Loud (Soozaroo Music). He is guest lecturer and teacher at several colleges and universities including University of the Arts in Philadelphia and West Chester University in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Jost also played drums in the Off- Broadway production of Andy Warhol’s “Man On The Moon” featuring John Phillips (Mamas and the Papas).
Born and raised in Southern New Jersey, Paul still resides in the area and is proud to have served as musical director at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City. He also served as music director for singer Morgana King. The list of artists he has performed or recorded with is extensive including Billy Eckstine, Mark Murphy, George Mesterhazy, Ann Hampton Calloway, Sylvia Simms, Bobby Scott, Sivuca, Dr. John, Bucky Pizzarelli, Teo Macero, Joe Farrell, Ron Carter, Bobby Tucker, Pee Wee Ellis, John Phillips, Mike Abene and many more. He is honored as well to have worked in collaboration with songwriter/producer Jim Tullio throughout his career.
When looking back at his childhood, he says, “Music spoke to my heart the instant I was exposed to it, and each experience has added to a continuing dialogue that becomes more beautiful and more meaningful in my life.” He learned to play piano at age six and quickly turned his talent to the drums. When he was 12, he started playing professionally, earning respect in the music community. After graduating Vineland High School where he was voted “best musician”, he studied at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston. He has performed all over the country, living for a while in New York and Chicago, but chose to make his home in New Jersey where he lives with his wife, Valerie. They are the proud parents of Daniel Jost, a highly respected musician/vocalist, and Juliana Jost, a high school art teacher and granddaughter, Olivia Grace.