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Jo Cuseo

Musician, Songwriter, Recording Artist

 

Jo Cuseo is the consummate musician. As a renowned session player, live performer, composer and recording artist, Jo Cuseo’s music career has gone into skyrocket mode with honors from Grammy 2016 for first ballot selections in the following categories: Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album for his 2015 EP release titled Cool Wind. This is the second time Jo Cuseo has been noticed on a first ballot by the academy.

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Biography

Written by Jonathan Widran

A consummate musician, songwriter and recording artist whose passion for a multitude of musical styles has driven his dynamic, ever-evolving career, Jo Cuseo has mastered it all – from “burnin bluz” (a track from Burning Desire, a project he released under The Jo Cuseo Blues Project), blues/rock and modern country to pop rock and contemporary and straight ahead jazz. Citing his chief influences as The Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, Larry Carlton and Michael Landau, the San Diego bred, Los Angeles based musical veteran has drawn on his versatility and adaptability to become a renowned session player, recording artist, live performer and composer. 

A consummate collaborator, Cuseo these past few years has been working with L.A. based   engineer, producer and longtime studio owner Huey Dee (of Studio Dee in Atwater Village) to build a powerful, multi-faceted library of songs and cues for licensing to film, television and other media. Offering a compelling mix of vocals and instrumentals, the two composer/songwriters started the library with blues and have diversified to include many other genres – including pop, pop/rock, acoustic music (including acoustic guitar driven blues), Americana, traditional jazz and classic styled pop/jazz a la Steely Dan and Michael Franks. Cuseo and Dee recently scored a licensing deal with Crucial Music and have several tracks under contract with them. They also have five tracks licensed with Transition Music/The African Channel.  The library is currently available for new licensing opportunities.

In addition to adding to his studio credentials, over the years, Cuseo has become a popular live performer, leading his own band and being part of the popular ensembles of other artists. As a bandleader, he opened for legendary L.A. new wavers Berlin at The Canyon Club and has headlined everywhere from the House of Blues to Hard Rock Café. He currently books through an agency in Vegas for live club and restaurant work, and has performed his original blues material and pop/rock and classic blues/rock covers at numerous locations of Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ in SoCal. He also performs regularly as guitarist for alt country artist Ryan Arklin at House of Blues and other prominent venues.

Cuseo launched his career as an independent recording artist with his acclaimed 2005 debut album Burning Desire (under the name The Jo Cuseo Blues Project). The band was the featured artist on “Saturday Morning Live” on 95.9 FM (The Octopus) in Ventura. After several years focusing on blues/rock, he shifted gears and began exploring another side of his artistry under the guidance of longtime music industry heavyweight, guitarist Bob Summers – whose family (which included Mary Ford, wife of guitar legend Les Paul) helped pioneer the L.A. music scene, performing gospel, country, pop and rock and roll. Working with Summers, who produced the songs and provided many of the guitar lines, Cuseo has recorded two pop/jazz recordings featuring a colorful mix of vocals and instrumentals in the Steely Dan/Michael Franks mode: Into the Light (2014) andCool Wind (2015).    

For this year’s 58th Annual Grammy Awards, Cuseo was on the first ballot in the following categories: Best Pop Solo Performance (Cool Wind), Best Pop Solo Performance (“So In Love With You”) and Best Pop Vocal Album (Cool Wind); Summers was on the ballot for his work on the album track “Paola” (Best Improvised Jazz Solo). The previous year (57th Annual Grammy Awards), Cuseo was on the first ballot for Best Pop Solo Performance (“Lola’s Thing”) and Best Pop Vocal Album (Into the Light), while Summers got a Best Improvised Jazz Solo nod for “Ain’t Nothin’ Draggin’ Me Down” from Into the Light

A graduate of the legendary Dick Grove School of Music, Cuseo has also worked over the years with one of his guitar idols, Mike Landau (Joni Mitchell, Andrea Bocelli, Aaron Neville), as well as composer/guitarist Tom DeLuca (Kid Rock, Molly Hatchett) and composer/producer Jan Buckingham (Whitney Houston, Pam Tillis, Lee Greenwood). Over the years, his longtime association with Huey Dee has led to hundreds of recording sessions with a wide variety of artists. He remains the ultimate “studio gun for hire” for artists and producers seeking his guitar and vocal expertise.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with so many great artists and performers, and with two top producers, Bob Summers and Huey Dee, who have helped me elevate my skills and diversity as a guitarist and vocalist to a higher level,” says Cuseo, “Though I am always driven by a passion to compose, perform and play, on a personal level, I’m at a place of peace where I can focus on my future in all of these arenas in a relaxed fashion. I’m excited about future opportunities to grow and contribute.”   


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Cool Wind

by Jo Cuseo (and Bob Summers / Huey Dee)

This is the album for Jo Cuseo's "Cool Wind", which is the second pop-jazz release with songs of love, heartache, cool instrumentals ala Les Paul.

Music by Jo Cuseo
Produced by Huey Lee & Bob Summers
Arranged by Bob Summers