has played on tons of sessions as a seasoned professional guitarist and vocalist. He has toured and recorded with artists like Tom Johnston, Jessie Colin Young, Buddy Miles, Alex Ligertwood, and many others.
He is the current guitarist, and vocalist, with Tower Of Power. His funky rhythm style and blazing leads won large compliments from fans and rave reviews from critics.
Early Life: As a young boy, Jerry was exposed to a rich variety of music from Swing and R&B to the music of the British Invasion. The Beatles' appearance on Ed Sullivan show ignited Jerry's dream of being a band guitarist. By 1965, he was introduced to soul-funk music by his uncle with the signature James Brown record Papa's Gotta Brand New Bag. His love for funk and soul music began and continues until today.
Musical Influences: Jerry was surrounded by music 24/7. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area gave him lots of chances to watch live performances. “When I was a young kid I was going to concerts and shows at Fillmore West and Winterland. The Bay Area was a great place for a music loving kid to grow up.”, says Jerry. However the strongest influence was from Jerry's family.
His first musical influence was from his father, Victor Cortez, as well as his younger brothers, and especially his older brother Robin. Robin introduced dozens of musicians to Jerry in his childhood and brought him to meet with older kids with more musical experience. His father played tenor sax on gigs at least five nights a week and still does to this day.
He taught Jerry and his brothers great music. Besides turning Jerry and his brother on to East Bay Grease in 1970, he gave Jerry some of the best memorable impromptu music experience. One time, he got Jerry and his brother out of bed and drove them, in pajamas, to a nearby club to listen to Lydia Pense and Cold Blood. They listened through an open door with the car parked on the street out front. It made an entertaining story to tell Lydia when Jerry joined Cold Blood 20 years later.
Appearances: Jerry was seen touring and recording with music legend Tom Johnston, Jessie Colin Young, Buddy Miles, Alex Ligertwood, Brian Withycombe, Kingfish, Tom Rigney, and many others. Jerry is still regularly records as a session guitarist.
Years of experience has developed Jerry from a guitar soloist and session player to a songwriter, producer and engineer. In 2005, he produced and released The Best of Guitar Favorites featuring his rearranged performances of famous guitar classics. In 2006, he released a series of digital albums of his vocal and guitar recordings: Out The Open Door, As If To Say, Sudden Joy and Nothing Else Matters. In 2009, he released a solo digital album American Invasion. These studio albums included some favorite guitar interpretations requested from fans.
Tower Of Power: Jerry joined Tower Of Power in January 2010 and instantly blended in well with its soul and funky rhythms. Since he joined the Bay side legends, Jerry has toured and performed all around the United States, Europe and Asia. Some iconic performances include the 2010 North Sea Jazz Festival, Estival Jazz Lugano 2010 and the 2011 Green Note JZ Shanghai Music Festival. In 2011, Jerry Cortez participated in production of TOP vocalist Larry Braggs' solo album Jus' Sangin' as main guitarist.
From The Ground Up (2016): From The Ground Up is Jerry Cortez's first solo album under the evosound label, in partnership with Disk Eyes Productions and his first album since he joined band Tower Of Power. The album was recorded in Nashville’s famed recording studios Sony/Tree Studio and Ocean Way Studio.
Unlike his former albums, this album demonstrates the best of Cortez's unique, soulful guitar style. Playing true to his fashion, Jerry Cortez chose a range of vibrant original and cover songs. He elevates the acoustic beats with his remarkable musicianship, featuring his best-received interpretation of founding member of Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green's Black Magic Woman. The album is released on March 11, 2016 on CD, and digitally on major download and streaming platforms.