Press & Reviews

Information for Journalists and Reviewers

“Back Home” Review by Rotcod Zzaj

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010


Jamie Ousley – BACK HOME: Home’s always a cool place to be, & Jamie’s double bass (along with a full crew of excellent players) take you there, without a doubt.  The best (in fact, the only) way to truly dig the vibe he & his band are capable of is with headphones… 11 tracks, 8 of them with full-tilt original energy, are featured in one of the most enjoyable jazz excursions I’ve listened to yet this year (and that’s saying something, ‘coz I’ve listened to a lot of them this year).  Check out the tension-building intro on “A Tune, Sir?“, or the alleycat slink walkin’ bass lines on “This is It!” just an excellent tune… takes me years & years back to when th’ jazz had real meat on it’s bones.  It was the second track in, “Nashvillatino” (another Ousley original) that instantly got my vote for favorite tune, though… there’s a lightness in the playing, as well as in the sound, that will make you play this track over & over again.  High talent, high energy & sheer love of playing get this fine second release my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating… “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.98 [out of 5].  Get more information at Rotcod Zzaj

“Jamie Ousley: A Sonic Soul” by Manny Meland

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010


Jamie Ousley is one of the most in-demand bassists in the South Florida music scene. I always enjoy his creative solos and I love to hear his big bass rumble at the bottom of a jazz piece. Ousley follows the tradition of “the good teach.” He teaches full time in the jazz department at Florida International University. Internationally, he has given clinics, taught master classes and provided private lessons in Japan, Switzerland, Germany and Costa Rica.

I saw Jamie at Churchill’s Pub the other day and I asked him at what age did he start to play. He replied, that as a child of five, he was so smitten by the musical score of Star Wars, he was able to tinkle out that piece on the piano without any assistance. That was when his parents realized that he possessed a musical gift and lost no time in enrolling him in Suzuki violin lessons. Fortunately, at that time, his school had an orchestral program and he was able to practice violin throughout his public school years. Then, at the age of twelve, in middle school, he switched to the double bass. That all happened in Johnson City, Tennessee where he was born.

I was curious why he switched from violin to bass. He told me, “I switched because in our middle school class new students were just beginning to learn the violin while I had been doing it since I was five. So by switching to bass, I was learning something new. Plus, it was real cool to play the biggest instrument in the class.”

Jamie went on to earn his B.A. in Music at Virginia Tech. He continued his education after arriving in Florida in 1998 by enrolling in the prestigious Jazz Program of the University of Miami. There he gained a Master of Music (M.M.) degree in Jazz Bass Performance which was followed by a Doctorate of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) in Jazz Bass Performance.

Ousley has performed in many festivals such Ballydehob International Jazz Festival in Ireland, the Montego Bay Jazz Festival in Jamaica, Festival Mizik Jakmel in Haiti, Marian’s Jazz Room in Bern, Switzerland, the Burlington Jazz Festival in Vermont, Jazz in June in Lincoln, Nebraska, Festival Miami, and at the Associations of Jazz Educators in New York, Los Angeles and Osaka, Japan.

The list of heavy duty musicians that have invited Jamie Ousley to back up their performances sounds like ‘who’s who’ in the jazz world. It includes Ira Sullivan, Eddie Higgins, Arturo Sandoval, Benny Golson, George Sheering, James Moody, Dave Liebman, John Fedchuk, Maria Schneider, Vince Mendoza, Jim McNeeley, Nestor Torres, Bucky & John Pizzarelli, Carmen Lundy, Harry Allen, Chip McNeill, Bob Berg, Greg Abate, Royce Campbell, Duffy Jackson, Steve Davis, Adam Nussbaum, and Vic Damone.

You are in luck if you would like to see him, as he is a prolific performer. For example, just look at his August schedule: Friday the 13th at Blue Jean Blues with Turk Mauro, the next day on Saturday (Aug. 14) at the Globe with Mike Gerber and Rodolfo Zuniga, which he followed on Monday (Aug. 16) at the Palm Beach Steak House with SAMM. The next Saturday (Aug. 21), he repeated his gig with Gerber at the Globe. Then on Monday (Aug. 23), he and Jim Gasior played Churchills Pub. This same pair took their act the following Friday (Aug. 27) to the Bass Museum of Art for the museum’s ‘Hot Nights, Cool Jazz’ series.

And it was fun seeing him at Churchill’s Pub on Monday, August the 23rd. The scene there reminded me of the old New York loft scene, which was a testing ground for creative young musicians. Several bands showed up that night to strut their stuff. I felt that the Jamie Ousley Trio, with Jamie on bass, Jim Gasior on keyboard, and John Yarling on drums, stole the show.

See Jamie Ousley’s performance schedule at

Check out the Jamie Ousley Trio (one incarnation) on this video of “If I Were A Bell.”

Winning Spins by Bill Meredith

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

From Jazz & Blues Florida:

BASSISTS JUST MIGHT BE THE MOST commonly overlooked musicians on the bandstand, mostly because of the misperception that their instrument is easier to play than others. Listeners also tend to ignore the fact that bassists and drummers can rarely lay out to create space, unlike guitarists, keyboardists and horn players. But South Florida bassist Jamie Ousley splits the difference between support and spotlight on his sophomore CD, Back Home (Tie Records), with very impressive results.

As he did on his last disc, 2008’s O Sorriso Dela, Ousley returned to Osaka, Japan, to rcord with longtime trio mates Phillip Srange and Larry Marshall, on piano and drums, respectively. Both musicians were staples of the South Florida jazz scene before relocating, and the threesome share an unmistakable synergy.

Rather than relying on familiar standards, Ousley includes just one and creatively rearranges it. On Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things,” multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan plays the melody on alto flute with all the sophistication expected of a 79-year-old jazz icon. Strange’s solo is brief but compelling, as is Ousley’s, yet the bassist spends most of the seven-minute track doing his job—locking in with Marshall. Ousley also rearranges Chopin’s “Nocturne in E flat major, Op. 9, No. 2.” In the process, he turns the classical piece into a playful romp with Strange and percussionist Carlomagno Araya.

But Ousley creates the most interest with his original compositions. On the bassist’s opening composition, “A Tune, Sir?” Sullivan’s fluid flugelhorn perfectly complements the bounce provided by Strange and the rhythm section. A New Orleans-flavored stroll, “This Is It!” employs the same personnel, only this time Sullivan adds spice on soprano saxophone— an instrument he uses to completely different effect on the ballad, “Clearing.”

Sullivan hired Ousley for his own band, and the unselfish bassist seems like he’s returning the favor throughout Back Home by placing the spotlight directly on his esteemed elder. (Of course, prominently featuring someone of Sullivan’s stature won’t do Ousley any harm, either.) The venerable South Florida musician also lends instrumental warmth to a couple of vocal ballads.

On “So Long,” Ousley’s ode to his uncle Lea Ousley, who died of cancer last year, LeNard Rutledge’s soulful voice is augmented by the bassist’s cadence, Marshall’s brushwork, Strange’s chording and Sullivan’s poignant soprano sax solo. Perhaps an indication that Ousley is a minister’s son, “Prayer” again features Sullivan on alto flute during an extended intro, before vocalist Nanami Morikawa sings the familiar recitation of “Now I lay me down to sleep.”

A Tennessee native who relocated in 1998 to study at the University of Miami, Ousley combines his Southern origins with South Florida’s Latino culture on a pair of compositions. “Nashvillatino” features Araya’s array of propulsive percussion instruments, plus Satement-making solos by Ousley and Strange amid the salsa-flavored rhythms. “Pasaje Tennessee” lures the listener in with a traditional jazz intro before Jhonny Mendoza introduces South American flavors via mandolin, violin, maracas and cuatro (four-stringed guitar).

Of all Ousley’s gifts as a musician, his keen ears may be the most impressive. Few bassists can play comfortably in a duo with a vocalist, since being the lone rhythmic, harmonic and melodic instrumentalist is often about as comfortable as public nudity. But Ousley and West Palm Beach-based singer SAMM have dueted at various South Florida venues for more than five years. SAMM’s smoky delivery proves the perfect vehicle for the wistful title ballad, this time in a quartet with Ousley, Strange and Marshall. An instrumental bonus-track version, with ace Miami saxophonist Ed Calle playing the vocal melody on soprano, provides the CD’s coda.

On paper, the serpentining themes and moods of Back Home might appear to lack continuity. But thankfully they appear on disc, where they add up to one of the more impressive recordings by a South Florida-based jazz artist.

“Back Home” review by Edward Blanco

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

From All About Jazz:

One of the most in-demand bassist in South Florida, Jamie Ousley comes Back Home with an eclectic collection of songs on his second album featuring nine originals, one standard and a Latin shaded rendition of a Frederic Chopin composition. Originally from Tennessee and now residing in Miami since 1998—where he teaches at Florida International University—the bassist used the international stage from where he draws much experience, to record part of this album. With his core trio band mates of pianist Phillip Strange and drummer Larry Marshall, Ousley recorded this effort in both Osaka, Japan and in Miami, where he assembled the rest of the ensemble found on Back Home.

Delivering a solid jazzy embrace, Back Home could turn out to be the best home coming bassist Jamie Ousley may ever celebrate. With an all-star cast of musicians enhancing Ousley’s music, this recording merits far more than a sample.

[Read the rest at]

“Back Home” review by George Fendel

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

From Jazz Society of Oregon:

This rather intriguing album covers the gamut from Ousley’s fresh originals to a prim and proper reading of a familiar Chopin Noctune. Notable as a guest soloist is the versatile Ira Sullivan, who, amazingly, plays saxophone, flute and flugelhorn, all witgreat skill. The recording also features a few well-placed vocals, the best of which was by LeNard Rutledge on Ousley’s stirring ballad, “So Long.” Most of the tunes are originals by the leader, and it should be said that he writes real melodies with, alternatively, charm and pizazz.

[Read the rest at Jazz Society of Oregon]

Jamie Ousley Releases “Back Home”

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

By Kevin Johnson at

South Florida bassist Jamie Ousley has released his second solo album, Back Home. The album is a mix of many styles, but the theme comes back to Ousley’s roots in Tennessee.

“I’ve lived away from home for a long time, like so many of us do,” Ousley says, “but my heart is still there in the mountains of Tennessee, and it’s reflected in my music.”

Ousley, who has worked with artists such as Ira Sullivan, Arturo Sandoval, and Benny Golson, recorded the album in Osaka, Japan and Miami, Florida. The other artists on the CD include his trio mates, with Phillip Strange on piano and Larry Marshall on drums. This latest effort is the follow-up to his debut album, O Sorriso Dela, which he released in 2008.

[Read the rest at]

South Florida bassist Jamie Ousley releases CD

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

By: Bill Meredith
The Palm Beach Post

Acoustic bassist Jamie Ousley ( blends his Tennessee origins, jazz training, and years of area Latin influence on his debut CD Back Home (Tie Records). The Hallandale Beach resident enlists his trio mates Phillip Strange (piano) and Larry Marshall (drums), plus iconic multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan, saxophonist Ed Calle, percussionist Carlomagno Araya, multi-string player Jhonny Mendoza and different vocalists to create a classic.

The bassist’s compositions stand out, even among standards by Rodgers and Hammerstein (My Favorite Things, which features banner alto flute work by Sullivan) and Chopin (Nocturne in E flat major, Op. 9 No. 2, on which Araya provides tasteful percussive shading). Ousley’s A Tune, Sir? opens the disc energetically be showcasing the 79-year-old Sullivan’s ageless flugelhorn technique; Nashvillation puts the spotlight on Strange’s fleet fingers, and This Is It! again points out Sullivan’s mastery, this time on soprano saxophone.

Intermittent vocal ballads provide pacing and contrast. So Long, an ode to deceased uncle Lea Ousley, features soulful singing by LeNard Rutledge, and the poignant title track (reprised as an ending instrumental bonus track with Calle) the smoky voice of local duo partner SAMM (Sharon Ann-Marie Mapp).

[Read the rest at the Palm Beach Post]

Bassist-composer Jamie Ousley’s “Back Home”

Monday, June 28th, 2010

By Grego Applegate Edwards at Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Blog:

Bass players used to be a more or less unsung lot. Yes, Paul Chambers, Charlie Mingus and Oscar Pettiford (OK, yeah, also Red Mitchell and Curtis Counce) led groups and made great records, but there didn’t seem to be many of them that could sustain or maintain prolonged attention. All that changed a while ago and these days you find quite a few good players fronting bands.

One of them making a bid for the limelight is one Jamie Ousley, who has a beautiful tone, a matter-of-fact melodic solo style that has something in common with the great Charlie Haden in it’s deliberation.

Ousley comes up with a knockout. You might be finding yourself flat on your back on the canvas while someone counts, or no, that’s the drums. But you’ll just be happy anyway. Happy that you’re hearing some very fetching music. Sorry that that will have to wait until its August 1st release date. It’s worth a few days. It’s good!

[Read the rest at Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Blog]

Jamie Ousley, ‘Back Home’ (TIE Records)

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

By: Alonzo Weston
News-Press, St. Joseph, Missouri

Jamie Ousley comes from the same line of bassist/composers like Mingus, Charlie Haden and Dave Holland. Like those legends, his virtuosity on the instrument often takes second fiddle to his compositional talents.


WLRN’s South Florida Arts Beat presents Jamie Ousley and friends

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

From all-about-jazz:

Please tune in worldwide for another great musical performance on WLRN’s South Florida Arts Beat Friday, June 18, 2010 featuring: JAMIE OUSLEY.

This University of Miami, Fla. Jazz grad and bassist/composer is energizing our local scene with engaging concerts from Palm Beach to the Keys. His latest recording, Back Home, will hit the streets Sunday, June 20th with his CD Release Party in The Cape Cod Room at The Historic Bath Club, Miami Beach, from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. On South Florida Arts Beat, Jamie will perform with some of South Florida’s greatest Jazz talent; vocalists SAMM and LeNard Rutledge, pianists Jim Gasior, Brian Murphy, Jaui Schneider and Gabriel Saientz plus firey drummer, Carlomagno Araya. Theyll present a preview of Jamie’s exciting, new CD.

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