an independent jazz label rooted in the soulful blues and swing
tradition and dedicated to the groove. Bluejay has a unique
influence on the jazz scene which has been recognized by fans
as well as critics who have given unprecedented rave reviews
to every Bluejay release. With a world-class talent roster and
a distinctive musical character Bluejay has become a prestigious
label and a positive influence on the music scene today. Although
the more accessible styles are our primary interest, we will
cross into unconventional areas as well.
Bluejay Records was founded in 1998 by Nat Simpkins and Cecil
Brooks III. Both of the principals are established recording
artists themselves. They also have stellar reputations as producers,
having been responsible for many top ten hits. The combination
of artistry, production skills, and business acumen make them
a force to be reckoned with.
Originally from Pittsburgh, drummer Cecil Brooks III has produced
and played on over 300 jazz recordings. He has recorded and
performed with Stanley Turrentine, Jimmy Smith, Wayne Shorter,
the Dizzy Gillespie Alumnae Band, Houston Person and Etta Jones,
the Mingus Big Band, the Enja All Stars, The Dizzy Gillespie
alumnae band, Don Braden, John Hicks, Vanessa Rubin, and the
Cosby Show Band. Brooks has performed at major venues and festivals
all over the world including the Blue Note, the Village Vanguard,
Sweet Basil's, and Birdland in New York, Yoshi's in San Francisco,
Scullers in Boston, Blues Alley in Washington, DC, the North
Sea Jazz festival, the JVC Jazz Festival, the Montreux Jazz
festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival and countless other venues
the world over. His crackling, exciting and versatile drumming
style together with his wealth of experience on stage and in
recording studios has made him one of the most in demand drummers
in jazz today.
Nat Simpkins is the latest exponent of the "Texas Tenor"
saxophone school of Arnett Cobb, Gene Ammons, and Stanley Turrentine.
Enticed by the enchanting island rhythms of Bermuda where he
spent his boyhood, Nat took up the saxophone and later moved
to Boston where he met and performed with the masters of the
"Texas Tenor" sound: Arnett Cobb, Eddie Lockjaw Davis,
Budd Johnson, Buddy Tate, and Eddie Cleanhead Vinson. Nat has
been working steadily since the 1980's performing with many
jazz names including all the saxophonists listed above, as well
as Houston Person, Grady Tate, Major Holley, Russell Malone,
Eric Johnson, Michael Cochrane, Calvin Hill, Dave Braham, Cecil
Brooks III, Larry Goldings, and many others. He has performed
all over the world at major venues including the Village Vanguard
and Birdland in New York and the Red Room and House of Blues
in New Orleans. He has recorded five CDs as a leader for Muse
and Bluejay Records. He continues to be an active player on
the international jazz scene today, adding his robust sound
and modern ideas to jazz venues the world over.