When Raul Midón sat down with JazzTimes for his first Before & After, he had only been back in the U.S. for a few days, following a Far East tour that included Japan, Australia, and a week at the Blue Note in Beijing. He strolled into VRTCL Entertainment, a Manhattan recording studio, with his small entourage: a publicist and a brawny assistant, who helps the blind singer/guitarist navigate his jam-packed travel schedule.
The New Mexico-born Midón, 52, writes and plays music that defies easy classification, combining soulful tenor vocals with a prodigious guitar technique influenced by flamenco and other Latin styles, jazz, R&B, and favorite singer/songwriters like Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. He’s also known for his uncanny “mouth trumpet” solos, a technique he perfected while a student in the University of Miami’s jazz program. Since then, he has worked with an impressive list of jazz and pop icons including Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, and Bill Withers.