We’re very happy to welcome guitarist Jhoely Garay to the SJW Mentor Fellowship program. In addition to being a fantastic guitarist, Jhoely is also a composer and arranger. Originally from Mexico, she’s been based in New York since 2014. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in jazz guitar performance at The City College of New York in 2020, and she is currently studying for a Master’s degree in jazz composition at Manhattan School of Music. Garay has studied many great jazz artists, including Steve Wilson, Peter Bernstein, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Freddie Bryant, Mike Holober, and Jim McNeely, among others.
Garay is a four-time winner of the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation scholarship, and was the recipient of the Austin and Florence Kaye Foundation Scholarship. She was awarded the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble Prize in 2020 and the Repsol Emerging Artist Award in 2017. She was selected to participate in the Woodshed Network Workshop in 2021, directed by the Tony Award-winning NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater, and participated in the International Workshop for Jazz and Creative Music at The Banff Centre in Canada in 2017. In addition, she is a Latin Grammy Foundation Ambassador, a BMI Jazz Composer Workshop selectee, a grantee of the “Young Creators” program 2019-2020 awarded by the National Fund for Culture and the Arts in Mexico and a grantee of the New York City Artist Corps 2021.
Her work has been presented in important venues in various countries, such as The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, Cornelia St. Cafe, Aaron Davis Hall, The Clemente Soto Cultural Center, The Stone, Terraza 7, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Shea Center for Performing Arts, Joe’s Pub, Blas Galindo Auditorium, Festival Internacional de Jazz de Córdoba, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Margaret Greenham Theater, Rolston Hall, and the National Arts Center in Mexico, among others.
Garay is the leader of her jazz orchestra, where she explores her musical visions based on tradition and exploration of different harmonic and structural possibilities. Her compositions and arrangements reflect elements of her greatest influences such as Maria Schneider, Thad Jones, Jim Hall, and Thelonious Monk, among others.
Her most recent project, “Sound Ecosystems”, consists of a collection of music for jazz orchestra inspired by the sounds of nature of different natural ecosystems. This project has the purpose of honoring nature through music, creating awareness of the importance of natural areas and transmitting a message that encourages the protection and conservation of natural resources.