Although he grew up in a bilingual household, Adrian Ruiz didn’t hear a lick of English-language music until he was 11 years old. Growing up, it was all conjunto and horn-based music on radio station KEDA, or music from his uncle, an ace on the accordion, or the beautiful voice of his great-grandmother. When he finally joined the band in school, Ruiz jokes the band director gave him three choices: trumpet, trumpet, or trumpet.
In college, Ruiz got turned on to Maynard Ferguson and the electric music of Miles Davis from the 1980s. You might not necessarily pick it up right away in the sound of his quintet, but you’ll certainly recognize the intensity, and the song craft of Ruiz and his bandmates.
Give a listen to this week’s episode in the Soundcloud link below, or tune in to “Live At Jazz, TX” on Texas Public Radio this Saturday night at 7:00.