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A Late Bloomer To Jazz, In Full Flower

Justin De Hoyos
Adrian Ruiz on the bandstand.

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.

Nathan has been with TPR since 1995, when he began working on classical music station KPAC 88.3 FM, as host of “Tuesday Night at the Opera.” He soon learned the ropes on KSTX 89.1 FM, and volunteered to work practically any shift that came his way, on either station. He worked in nearly every capacity on the radio before moving into Community Engagement, Marketing, and Digital Media. His reporting and criticism has been honored by the Houston Press Club and Texas Associated Press.