Media Raves Back    
Venice Magazine
September 1993

by Jan Holland

Sonya Jason

Sonya Jason - What you see is what you get!

She's a hundred pounds of rompin' stompin' sax. She's so hot her horn smokes. To hear her is to know her. She tells you everything about herself in her sounds. Her horn honks, man.

"Who I am on stage is definitely me. Off stage, I'm the same person."

At 28, Sonya Jason is the tigress of saxophones. She's sexy, sultry, and sassy. A Capricorn with Scorpio rising, she creates her own classy jazz. Compact and packed with music, she's her own CD. Maybe it's the way she fits into her tights, or the romanticism of her backup. But it has to do with the roots of musical invention. Her first CD, Tigress, (Discovery Records) defines mood, zest, verve and sizzling straight-on jazz from the hip. Some elements of jazz never change, but Sonya Jason picks up the leftovers and moves them into her own dimension. Her signature lick puts regular club jazzies squarely in her pocket. West Coast originals, move over.

A combination of Scarlett O'Hara's pluck and Puck's prankishness, it's captivating to find a female so small playing this masculine instrument.

The yin and yang of masculinity/femininity are serious concerns in Sonya's career. "There's a difference between artists and musicians. When I was at Berklee College of Music there were a lot of guys who would typically take on that competition as a sporting event. Get up and show how much they know. I'm not interested in that. To me it's musical muscle-flexing. It doesn't include the audience. The important thing is to be aware of your audience. An artist wants to say something, make an impact on the world. Inspiring people is what's it's all about."

"My first album, Secret Lover, I produced on my own. It was a catharsis. It was a concept album for me about a deep relationship and the songs took it from start to finish. It goes from Wildflower to Forbidden Love to Alone Again. I wrote Forbidden Love with my friend Tom Powers and it's also on my new CD, Tigress, which I co-produced."

"Cartoon Blues is my favorite song. It reveals diverse elements of my personality. When I do it live, people buy my CD like mad. There's something in that song." The "something" in that song is her playfulness. She could be Daffy Duck or sit on a stool nine feet tall, blow that sax and knock everyone off their chairs.

"I started as a player, never considering myself a composer. Discovery signed me because I'm fiery when I play and because they said I'm an "excellent composer". Oh, my gosh, I never saw myself as that. I learned how to write in college. Tryst was the first song I wrote on my own. I saw that, as a business, it's better to have your own material. It was a way to distinguish myself, to contribute to my style as individual and separate. Discovery believed in me and I said, 'this is it!' Now I have to live up to that. Okay, I have an album to do. I isolate myself, turn off the phones and write songs. It's a matter of focusing."

Born in Nebraska in the sixties, Sonya's family was isolated, rural, caught up in farming and wholesomeness. "I knew nothing about jazz. We listened to Barbra Streisand. My mother taught classical piano. I knew nothing about rock 'n roll or the Beatles. I saw a sax in a store and it stood out for me. I like sparkly things. I taught my mom about jazz. We moved to Albuquerque in the seventies. It didn't even seem to be in the United States, but it was faster than Nebraska."