SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. -- Trumpeter Claudio Roditi grew up in Brazil, so listeners might be surprised when says most of his influences come from the American jazz movement.

More specifically, Roditi enjoyed hard bop growing up, a jazz style that first emerged in the 1950s out of the earlier bebop movement. Blue Note Records, he said, was a big supporter of the style and put out albums by some of his favorite musicians, including pianist Horace Silver and trumpeter Freddy Hubbard.

His hard-bop influences emerge even when he is “trying to write a Brazilian tune,” Roditi said.

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These musical influences, which Roditi said he can’t accurately describe in words, will be captured, along with a Brazilian flair and a little romance, in his performance at South Orange Performing Arts Center’s "Jazz in the Loft," on Feb. 12 at 5 p.m. 

Additionally, Roditi will be playing jazz Thursday evening at Papillion 25 on Valley Street, South Orange, at 8:30 p.m., with John Lee on bass.

As a 12-year resident of South Orange -- “My wife and I did the usual route, from Manhattan to Brooklyn to New Jersey” --  Roditi said he enjoyed working in a community where so many other musicians lived and worked, and where an audience was very receptive to jazz. Roditi said the community is growing – the Jazz in the Loft series he is participating in used to be held at the Baird, but it has since moved to SOPAC.

“My wish is that things continue to develop here in our area; it’s nice to go to work close by where you live,” Roditi said, adding,  “We have to travel so much in order to make a living (that) once in a while it’s nice to be able to get in your car and drive five minutes to your gig.”

Roditi said his performance at SOPAC will be mostly jazz-focused, with a few Brazilian tunes thrown in, and while he will mostly play others’ work, he also plans to play a few of his own songs.

When asked if there was anything special in store for the performance – the show is two days before Valentine’s Day, after all – Roditi laughed and said he’d have to think about including something.

“There’s a beautiful song,” Roditi said, “’My Funny Valentine,’ maybe we’ll play that.”

Roditi said he will be playing with John Lee on bass, Evan Sherman on drums, Roy Assaf on piano and John Dukich will be the vocalist for the evening.

Roditi has performed at SOPAC before, but only in the theater, never the Loft. “I haven’t even seen it yet,” Roditi said on Monday, though he said he knew it would be a good time.

“Even though I have not seen the Loft and I haven’t been there, I know it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Roditi said. When asked more specifically why he knew it would be fun, Roditi laughed, “You’re going to have to come by and see it. In music, as in any kind of art, there has to be an element of surprise.”

Roditi is the first in SOPAC’s ‘Jazz in the Loft’ series. Tickets are $12. There will be a cash bar with no drink minimum. To purchase tickets, call 973.313.ARTS or visit

Caitlin Carroll is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts designed to give students real-world experience.