When Jay Patten was eight years old, in his birthplace of New Jersey, he saw Elvis on the tube. He took up the guitar. A few years later he heard Stan Getz on the radio. He took up the saxophone. By the time he was thirteen he was playing gigs in the New York area.
Jay’s family moved to Clearwater, Florida and while still in high school, Jay played guitar and sax as a sideman for acts like The Shangrilas, Bobby Rydell, Joey Dee, Del Shannon and more. He even worked with a band that opened for the Rolling Stones.
Jay attended The Berklee College of Music where he studied arranging and composing and took saxophone lessons from Charlie Mariano and Joe Viola (Recently, Berklee awarded Jay with their Distinguished Alumnus Award).
The day after graduation Jay hit the road for a three-year stint as vocalist with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Jazz clarinetist Buddy DeFranco was the leader at the time. “Singing great songs with that wonderful big band with Buddy as leader was an absolute dream come true!” tells Jay.
After the Miller band experience, Jay moved to Los Angeles where he played in a diverse array of groups from rock to big band jazz. “I got my feet wet as a recording musician out there,” he notes. At the suggestion of singer Deborah Allen, Jay and his saxophone moved to Nashville. He has played on hundreds of recordings for such diverse artists as Johnny Cash, Lobo, Pure Prairie League, David Loggins, Nanci Griffith and many more. NARAS awarded Jay with their “Super Pickers Award” for studio excellence.
Jay put together a band in Nashville and ever since The Jay Patten Band has been a mainstay on the Nashville night scene, as well as the concert stage (He’s opened for Maynard Ferguson, Taj Mahal, Stanley Jorden, Ray Charles and others).
In 1982, Jay became the first artist to step foot on the stage of the now world famous “Bluebird Cafe.” Twice a year, ever since, Jay and the band host the anniversary and the Christmas Shows, Some of the artists that have appeared with Jay’s band include Rita Coolidge, John Prine, Janis Ian, Lee Greenwood, Michael Johnson and many more.
“One of the best things that ever happened to me was getting the opportunity to work with my friend Crystal Gayle…” Jay is currently Crystal’s music director. Besides playing sax, guitar and mandolin, he steps up to the podium and conducts for her. He has conducted over fifty symphony orchestras in the U.S. and Canada including the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Pops Orchestra and the United States Navy Band. He also has played on nine of Crystal’s albums as well as co-producing three of them. He’s even recorded two vocal duets with Crystal. In December of 2001, Crystal recorded (and released as a single) Jay’s song “Christmas in America.” “I’ve literally played thousands of shows with Crystal and I am still amazed by the tone of her voice as well as the wonderful feeling she puts into ev’ry song.”
Jay Patten has released five well-received albums including his CBS CD “Black Hat and Saxophone,” which made the national charts as well as being featured on VH-1. Other projects include “Impressions Of Christmas,” “Night Blue” and his big band project “All In Blue Time,” featuring his friend Buddy DeFranco. Check out Jay’s latest project, “Crystal Nights,” a gift of passion from a vital and diverse musical artist…Mr. Blue Jay Patten.