Jay Roberts was born in California, and is the son of legendary jazz guitarist and world renowned educator Howard Roberts (founder of the Guitar Institute of Technology). Although stylistically versatile with a Rock, Blues and Jazz background, his heart is found in improvising and teaching. Growing up with a very musical family, Jay found himself playing multiple instruments including Guitar, Drums and Bass, and studying extensively with his father, mentor and best friend H.R.
Jay is the founder of RMI (Roberts Music Institute), an accelerated learning facility located in Seattle/Bellevue Washington. Being a music school with an emphasis on performance and student interaction, Jay is actively involved with students on a day to day basis, teaching classes, ensembles and private lessons.
Jay studied both guitar and drums as a child and began teaching at age 14. Since then, as an educator, has provided well over 50,000 private and group lessons on guitar, drums, and bass. The core curriculum has always been based on the brilliant, innovative and accelerated learning techniques created by Howard Roberts. Having studied under Howard for many years, Jay still refers to HR’s reference materials for inspiration and direction.
Jay has won several electric guitar competitions, including Seattle’s Best Guitarist in 1992 and 1993, sponsored by Yamaha, as well as the Jimi Hendrix National Electric Guitar Competition, sponsored by Gibson Guitars.
Performing with Joey DeFrancesco, Stanley Jordan, Eric Burden, Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell as well as Dan Dean, Robert Damper, Clint Strong, Brendan Scanlan, Rich D’Angel, Don Mock, John Stowell, Cold Blood, Steve Vai, Ben Lacy and Howard Roberts, (to name a few) Jay has had the opportunity to stretch out and develop his own style.
Jay’s debut solo CD “Son of a Dirty Guitar player” features B-3 virtuoso, Joey DeFrancesco. This is a tribute to Howard Roberts and “HR is a Dirty Guitar player”
“Pocket Deuce,” a guitar duo with Jay Roberts and Ben Lacy is his latest CD release. This features a blend of Jazz and Pop standards, arranged for two guitars.
Jay produced the Howard Roberts Project Documentary and Tribute CD, having the opportunity to record and work closely with music greats such as Ernie Watts, Dave Grusin, Tom Scott, Ralph Humphrey, Russel Ferrante, Bob Bain, Howard Alden, Don Mock and many other guitar greats.
Currently residing in the Seattle area, he is involved in several music performance and recording projects, including a Guitar duo with Don Mock. Jay also plays in the Jazz/Fusion quartet, “The BIG NOW, “with Robert Damper on keyboards, Dan Dean on bass and Brendan Scanlan on drums.
Jay endorses Gibson, Brian Moore and Breedlove Guitars, and can be found each year at the NAMM conference performing as a product specialist with several manufactures.
“Jay Roberts may be known primarily as a fusion player, and he can handle that style very well, but he also plays straight ahead jazz with authority and conviction. He can swing, has a great sound and has harmonic and rhythmic depth in his solos. I always enjoy playing with Jay.”
-John Stowell, Guitar Virtuoso
“Jay Roberts is one of the best guitarists on the planet. How’s that for a statement! I’ve taken lessons from many guitarists, some of them quite famous, and Jay is one of the most versatile teachers around.”
-Jim Allchin, Guitarist/Singer (former co-president Microsoft Corporation)
“Jay Roberts is one of the Best and most accomplished Jazz and Rock/Fusion guitarists playing today. Not as well-known to the general public as some guitarists who have pop, crossover hit cds, but when it comes to serious playing…He’s absolutely at the top of the professional league and can play anything, any style! Fascinating to watch and to listen to. I just wish I could get to see his playing more often! It doesn’t get better than Jay!”
-Rowland Harris, Contributor for Just Jazz Guitar and other magazines
“Is great guitar playing hereditary? Maybe. In the mid 1970’s I had the great fortune of playing and working with one of my true hero’s of guitar growing up, Howard Roberts. Not many players could equal Howard’s knowledge of the instrument or musical and technical abilities. One player that can, happens to be one of Howard’s sons, Jay Roberts. A few years following HR’s death in 1992, I began playing in a guitar duo with Jay in the Seattle area and he has grown into one of the finest players I have ever heard. Jay has developed a powerful style bringing together traditional jazz concepts, learned from his father, and modern guitar techniques only a few have mastered. His rhythm and chordal know-how is remarkable and his melodic sense and improvising chops are simply stunning. For me though, one of the best things about playing with Jay is his warm and joyous manner and willingness to explore any musical direction…….at any time. I only wish Howard could hear Jay play today. He would be extremely proud and truly amazed.”
-Don Mock, Co founder of Musicians Institute and Guitarist Extraordinaire