SWLA violin prodigy Jairus Daigle carries on a legacy of jazz music

Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 7:34 PM CST
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Lake Charles, La. (KPLC) - This week in our tribute to Black History month, we’re highlighting a young man who represents the future of jazz here in Southwest Louisiana.

Jairus Daigle picked up a violin at a young age and never looked back. He’s been called a Louisiana jazz prodigy, and one listen is all it takes to understand why.

As the son of one of SWLA’s best jazz and rhythm and blues musicians, Chester R. “Choppe” Daigle II, Jairus inherited the feel for jazz music.

“I started playing the violin through my dad. My dad was a professional pianist here in Lake Charles, and during the time when I got interested in the violin is when he performed with the Lake Charles Symphony,” he said.

Jairus fell in love with the violin the first time he heard it.

“I was around the age of five when I got the chance to hold the violin, and I was around the age of seven when I actually received my first violin. I just fell in love with that specific instrument, and I begged my parents for it for a few years,” Jairus said.

He began his professional career when he was in eighth grade playing gigs with his dad. He said his dad really guided him when he started out.

“The the road was paved for me. I guess I could say, like, he kind of showed me the ropes and what to do and how to handle myself on occasions and gigs and stuff like that. And he gave me many opportunities,” Jairus said.

One of his greatest opportunities was being hand-selected to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.

“It is a very big school surrounded with amazing musicians, and they only select so many. And once you graduate from there, there are a plunder of opportunities,” he said.

Jairus followed his dreams. It wasn’t always easy, but his perseverance and persistence paid off.

“With anything, it’s really following your dreams and putting your best foot forward and continue to work at it. That’s what I did all my life. There were, there were plenty of times I wanted to give up on the violin doing due to practicing and not getting a piece or, you know. Not getting this one part in the classical piece,” he said.

And when he felt like giving up, his dad was always there to encourage him.

“But my dad continued to tell me that I’m the one who chose that instrument so, you know, continue to work at it. It’ll work out in the end. And that’s what I did,” Jairus said.

Jairus has three albums out, “It’s My Time,” “Roam Around the City” and “In Motion.”

Jairus said one thing that surprises people is how far violins have come.

”We’re in the time of age where they’ve moved beyond just four strings. Now there’s violins with seven strings. There’s violins that do all kinds of things. There’s violins that could control keyboards via MIDI, and all kinds of things. Violins that light up,” he said.

Jairus wants to continue to grow both musically and professionally.

“Future goals are to continue to grow fan base and grow content as well and just continue to perform and travel and get paid to travel and perform,” he said.

For information on where you can hear Jairus play and his upcoming engagements, check out his Facebook page.