The Origin Story of Jâca

The unlikely story of Jâca began in 2012… with an email. Wesley Ferreira, clarinet professor at Colorado State University, was set to record a challenging new piece for clarinet and guitar which would complete the requirements and earn him a Doctorate in Music from Arizona State University. With days to go before the recording session, he received an email from the guitar professor at Arizona State University. Due to an hand injury, their plan to rehearse and record the piece could not move forward. With flights from Colorado scheduled, the recording studio already booked, and with an advanced degree on the line, the email appeared to mark the end of the road! In fact, and as fate would have it, it sparked a new beginning. The guitar professor told Wesley that he would secure a replacement, his top graduate student. But with days to go, could Wesley really expect even the most advanced and talented musician to take over with such little preparation time? Enter Jaxon Williams.

On the same day Wesley received the onerous email, Jaxon received a phone call from his guitar professor. He felt a mix of confusion, intrigue, and excitement as he caught the caller ID. Thinking that it must be something important, his mind raced through the possibilities as he moved to answer the call. At once he thought, could this be a performance opportunity, a collaboration… am I in trouble? Jaxon was asked to fill in for Wesley’s recording with only days’ notice. The pressure was on because this new piece was planned on being released on an album with a professional record label. Jaxon, never known to back down from a challenge, immediately began to absorb the music, secretly jotting down notes in the score during his classes, recording himself in the practice room, and listening to the piece as he rode his bike to and from school. He even found himself falling asleep while thinking and working out difficult passages in his head. Time was ticking and there was no other option than to eat, sleep, and breathe this music. Something told Jaxon that all the work he was putting in was going to be worthwhile.

Days later, Wesley arrived in Phoenix and met Jaxon for the first time. They knew that they faced a tall order. With a little apprehension and nervousness between them, Wesley and Jaxon got right down to work. As they began their first rehearsal session, the pair immediately felt that rare, elusive, magical thing happen (anyone who has played in a chamber ensemble knows just how rare this is). Their playing fit perfectly and there was instant chemistry. The music came to life. With little said between them, they approached the music with shared vision. Following an effective and inspired session of music-making discovered that they shared similar personalities and sense of humor. They were surprised to find shared musical interests and backgrounds too.

The next day the pair showed up to the recording studio confident and they nailed it.

Interestingly enough, it wasn’t until six years later that their serendipitous first meeting would lead to the formation of Jâca. In between, Jaxon went to Spain on a Fulbright scholarship to learn Flamenco, earned his own Doctorate in music, and has become an award-winning performer. Wesley released several albums to critical acclaim and built an international reputation as a performer and engaging teacher. Throughout that time, they kept in touch and in 2018 joined forces once again to record several new pieces as well as their own arrangements for clarinet and guitar (this time, under less pressure). Reigniting their musical spark and on the recommendation of several friends and colleagues, Wesley and Jaxon decided to embark on an exciting musical journey together. Jâca was born!

Post Script:

You’re probably wondering where the name Jâca comes from. Well, that piece Wesley and Jaxon first played together was written by a Portuguese composer and was titled Imaginary Beings, based on the book of the same name by Jorge Luis Borges. It was fitting then that their new duo would be given a Portuguese name and be represented by its own imaginary being. They created a logo based on the famous Portuguese Rooster of Barcelos to represent the new imaginary being. Now all they needed was a name. Fitting for their relationship Wesley and Jaxon quickly and easily decided. Jâca sparked their imagination.