Jimmy Cruz

The Reader's Digest Version

I'm a professional musician (electric and acoustic guitar), guitar instructor, composer, husband, Dad, & Grandpa. I'm influenced by many styles of music and have played many. My main area of study is jazz, but there’s a bit of rock and Blues influence in my playing. I consider myself an average player since there are so many really great musicians out there today. Originally from NY, then Los Angeles, then Tampa, and now residing in Atlanta, GA. I've played professionally since I was 16 in many bands in several musical genres as well as solo performance. My musical pursuits had taken me from East coast to West Coast and back again. I have had many band projects over the years performing top 40, rock, prog rock, blues, Latin-jazz, fusion, country, gospel/contemporary Christian and more recently worked with a jazz trio. I've also participated in the musical ministry of my local church for 25 years. My musical influences are all over the map. For overt 30 years I've been teaching guitar professionally (around 50 students per week) while also holding down a career in corporate America, now retired from that. I don't perform much lately, primarily because of a very busy guitar instruction schedule and a substantial waiting list of students. Instead of performing, these last few years I've enjoyed writing, arranging and recording my own musical ideas and collaborating with other musicians as a creative outlet.







What is music to you? What does it give you?

Above everything, whatever talent/ability I have is a gift of God and I am grateful for it as it's provided for me and my family for many years and it's blessed and refreshed others. Ultimately what I do musically is a gift back to God to glorify Him. My prayer is to bless others with it by either what I do in performance and in my professional music teaching career. Music has been a God-given passion of mine all of my life since I was a child.

What is your music dream?

Already lived it and am living it. It’s been a profession for many years and had helped support me and my family.

If you could change the world - what would you start with?

In one word, Jesus! I would love to see people mutually respect each other and getting back to the "Golden rule" taught by Jesus.

Which is the most memorable song from your childhood?

Too many to name.

Who are your favorite musical artists or bands?

Too many to name in multiple genres. Early on it was many artists in rock, then jazz fusion, then traditional jazz and the works of classical composers. Various types of world music also fascinates me.

What inspires you to make music?

2 things mostly: the beauty of God’s creation (I’m a sucker for a beautiful sunset) and the depths of God’s grace.

What is the message you want to send with your music?

Jesus! His mercy, His grace, His power to make us new, forgiveness for sins, His love and the eternal hope we have in Him. The gospel of Jesus is all about a rescue mission. Nothing else matters more for now and all eternity. John 3:16-17

How do you feel when you perform in front of an audience?

Nervous on the first tune and adrenaline run afterwards.

How do you see the musicians’ reality nowadays? What could be improved?

It’s a brave new world. Making a living as a musician is something that takes a lot of work but the reality of "getting known" internationally is a feat. It's not something I care to aspire to these days, at least not like I did in my younger years. I think if we find the reason and meaning of our gift and pursue that, we'll find it much more fulfilling and impactful than chasing "the dream". The digital reality of today is much different than the industry was years ago. But it does offer some new and different opportunities for our gift to be employed.

What do you think of Drooble?

I absolutely LOVE it!

What frustrates you most as a musician?

The music industry seems obsessed with producing clones as opposed to celebrating the uniqueness of different artists.

Do you support your local scene as a fan? How?

Very occasionally showing up at their local gigs. But mostly since I’ve taught hundreds of musicians, a good number of them gig or have gigged. So in that sense, I’ve contributed to their pursuits.

What qualities should a musician nowadays have in order to get their music heard by a larger audience?

Excellence, a signature sound/style and the ability to relate to their niche’s audience.

Share some awesome artists that we’ve never heard of.

Jacob Collier is an amazing genius. Also I love the talent and work of Neal Morse and his various projects.