Thursday, October 20, 2011

Upcoming Gigs

Hi all, I've got some shows coming up that I wanted to let you know about! After I finish these next few days in London with Michael Buble's band, I've got these two shows in NYC. I hope to see some of you there!

Jon Irabagon Trio
Friday, October 21st
Cornelia St. Cafe
29 Cornelia St. in the Village, near the W 4th St. Subway
9 and 1030 Sets
$15 plus one drink minimum

This show was selected as Time Out NY's Critic's Pick for the week!

Jon Irabagon-saxophone
Mark Helias-bass
Barry Altschul-drums

Kenny Wheeler Quintet
Sunday, October 23rd
The Jazz Standard
116 E 27th St.
730 and 930 sets

This show was previewed in the New York Times!

Kenny Wheeler-trumpet
Jon Irabagon-saxophone
Craig Taborn-piano
Dave Holland-bass
Rudy Royston-drums

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jon wins Rising Star award in Downbeat!

Hi all, just a quick note to say thank you to all the critics who voted for me in this year's Downbeat Magazine International Critics' Poll. I am humbled and honored to have won the "Alto Saxophone Rising Star" award for 2011. I also got some votes for "Tenor Saxophone Rising Star."

Thanks for your support!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Jon nominated for two 2011 Jazz Journalists Awards!

Hi all, I am truly honored and blessed to have been nominated by the Jazz Journalists' Association for two different awards this year-- Up and Coming Artist and Tenor Saxophonist of the Year. Thank you everyone! I've put together a couple of paragraphs so you can see what I've been up to in the last few months, and what's coming up. Thanks!

I also have some really fun gigs in NYC coming up this month, so if you are in the area, please stop by and say hi!!

Saturday, May 7th, Bar Next Door with Barry Altschul and Joe Fonda

Thursday, May 12th, Cornelia St. Cafe with Ralph Alessi, Jacob Sacks, John Hebert and Mike Pride

Sunday, May 15th, Brooklyn Lyceum with Tom Rainey and Peter Brendler, with Randy Ingram for the 2nd set

Wednesday, May 18th, The Stone with Ralph Alessi, Jacob Sacks, John Hebert and Tom Rainey

Thursday, May 19th, I record my new CD with the above cast, with tons of guests!!

Jon Irabagon Nominated for 2011 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards

Saxophonist Jon Irabagon, winner of the 2008 Thelonious MonkCompetition, has been nominated by the Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) in both the Up and Coming Artist and Tenor Saxophonist of the Year categories for its prestigious 2011 Jazz Awards. In the Up and Coming Artist category, Irabagon joins such talented musicians as Ambrose Akinmusire, Darius Jones and Gerald Clayton in being recognized as those to watch in coming years. Other nominees in the Tenor Saxophonist of the Year category include such legends as Chris Potter, Joe Lovano, Sonny Rollins, Tony Malaby and Wayne Shorter. Award winners are selected by JJA members who have until May 11th to vote.

"In looking at who has been nominated in both of these categories and the incredible body of work these artists have put out, the cliche that it's an honor just to have been nominated is true," said Irabagon. "It's absolutely amazing to have my name on the same list as those who I see as the best and most thought-provoking musicians in jazz today."

Irabagon has 4 records under his own name and has appeared as a sideman for a wide-range of others. His most recent,
Foxy (Hot Cup Records), features long-time collaborator and percussion icon Barry Altschul in a swinging, non-stop, post-bop high-wire act, attacking and dissecting a simple 16 bar form for almost 80 continuous minutes. Foxy appeared on the “Best of 2010” lists for a variety of jazz journalists, including David Adler and Hank Shteamer. Along with Foxy, Jon played pivotal roles on two other drastically different recordings from 2010 that made Top 10 lists from members of the JJA community: Mostly Other People do the Killing’s Forty Fort, and Mary Halvorson’s Saturn Sings, which was picked by several members as the top CD of the year.

Irabagon has a full travel schedule this summer, bringing his Foxy trio to the legendary Moers Jazz Festival, recording a new CD with the Mary Halvorson Quintet, as well as a month long European tour with Mostly Other People do the Killing (winner of the Rising Star Ensemble award in the Downbeat critics poll in 2009), and as the foil for Kenny Wheeler for several Canadian jazz festival appearances featuring pianist Myra Melford. He is also set to record his next release this month, featuring Ralph Alessi, Jacob Sacks, John Hebert, and Tom Rainey.

Known for his comprehensive, far-reaching approach to jazz, Irabagon weaves fluidly from straight ahead to post-modernism to everything in between. The experimental flavor found in Mostly Other People do the Killing sits side by side with Irabagon’s own groups, as well as his tenure in the Mary Halvorson Quintet, guesting with Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, and his continuing duo work with Mike Pride. This work is complemented by other more straight ahead performances and records with Joey DeFrancesco, Jeremy Pelt, and Kenny Wheeler, and Jon has begun collaborating with Norwegian hip-hop mogul Tommy Tee-- all within the last year. This flexibility and daring is part of what makes him unique in jazz and improvising today.

“Envision a Hollywood star who, in the same calendar year, stars in both a crowd-pleasing Hollywood blockbuster and a cryptic experimental film, and you’ll get a sense of Irabagon’s continuing work.” (Hank Shteamer, Time Out NY) Irabagon has also received continuing
media attention, doing features for Signal To Noise, Burning Ambulance, Jazz & Tzaz Magazine in Greece, Cuadernos de Jazz World Magazine in Spain, as well as several online podcasts and blogs, and had a solo from his record The Observer (Concord) transcribed and analyzed in Downbeat Magazine.

A graduate of both Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music, Irabagon's already impressive resume includes performances and recordings with such well-known artists as Wayne Shorter, Mary Halvorson, Evan Parker, Joey DeFrancsco, John Edwards, Kenny Wheeler, Nicholas Payton, Charles Gayle, Kenny Barron, and with non-jazzers Billy Joel, Michael Buble, Conor Oberst, and Renee Fleming.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Open letter on NPR funding

Hi everyone, I just wrote this letter concerning Congress's ridiculous idea on eliminating funding to National Public Radio. If you feel strongly (or even a little bit) about preserving the idea of freedom of artistic expression in America, I encourage you to get in touch with your Congressperson and let them know. The only way for your Congress to work FOR you is to let them know what YOU want.


In the United States, public radio is one of the most important outlets for all fine arts to have a voice and be heard. All types of jazz, Americaʼs fine arts gift to the world, can be heard on public radio, from the most traditional to the most searching. This freedom of expression (in music, dance, theater, painting, and numerous other arts) in vital to the health of any country or culture, especially in America today.

This is why Iʼm so concerned about the efforts in the U.S. Congress to eliminate ALL federal funding for public broadcasting. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the legislation, and the U.S. Senate will be considering this issue soon. Given the fervor to cut the deficit in any way possible, there is a possibility that, here, in one of the richest nations in the world, the government will vote to financially stop supporting an outlet that exposes hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Americans to what is new and innovative in the worldʼs creative and fine arts. It is of course important to save money, but not at the expense of a service that generates $6 in local support for every $1 provided by the federal government. This 6 to 1 ratio, would, in business terms, be an unquestioningly large return, and we should look at it as such, not just monetarily, but culturally as well.

Fortunately, there is something we all can do to help out. At you can learn more and send a message to Congress letting our federal representatives know that this is a really bad idea. Our Congressmen and -women need to hear from their constituents to know how to represent us better, and this is a good place to start!

From national programmers like NPR to local stations like WDIY in LeHigh, PA, KENW in Portales, NM, and everywhere in between, public radio stations have allowed me to get my music out to others who might not be able to come hear me in concert or afford to buy my CDs. Through the numerous reviews, interviews, or song spins Iʼve received on the radio, Iʼve been able to get my view on the world out there. In fact, my latest record “Foxy” (which is a non-stop 80 minute post-bop jazz offering that features a living legend in percussionist Barry Altschul) was played non-stop recently on Blue Lake Public Radio in Michigan. Youʼre not going to hear something like this, or most other really personal forms of expression, on mainstream, commercial radio.

Americans SHOULD have options when it comes to what they want to watch or listen to, and keeping public radio as an option, the American people are richer with choices.

Iʼve been humbled and honored to play with great artists from all over America and the world, including Wynton Marsalis, Billy Joel, Joey DeFrancesco, Herbie Hancock, Michael Buble, Kenny Wheeler, Lou Reed, Conor Oberst, Nicholas Payton, Kenny Barron, and Wayne Shorter; without public radio, the inspiring work of these musicians-- and many more-- would not be heard. Public radio stations are THE source on the free airwaves for high-quality jazz programming in our country. If you care about jazz in the United States, this is the time to speak out.


Jon Irabagon

Monday, January 17, 2011

Feb 16 and 17th: SPECIAL EVENT: Kenny Wheeler with John Taylor, Jon Irabagon, Andrew Bain and Michael Janisch

The pizza express welcomes two of the UKs most revered and celebrated jazz musicians and composers in a very rare and special musical collaboration with three rising jazz stars, celebrating the life and music of Kenny Wheeler.

Wheeler was born in Toronto Canada in 1930 and studied trumpet before moving to the UK in 1952, where he played with John Dankwork, Ronnie Scott, Joe Harriot and with pioneering free improvisers John Stevens, Tony Oxley and Anthony Braxton. Through his subsequent groups with John Taylor, Norma Winstone, the Dave Holland Quintet and his own big band, Wheeler has become one of the most highly regarded composer/trumpeters in jazz history. Recently turning 80, Wheeler embarked on a birthday celebration tour featuring his big band. For these two nights, he is presenting his music for quintet in a rare and intimate setting, joined by long time musical associate and world renown English pianist John Taylor and the recent Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz Saxophone Winner, NYC based altoist Jon Irabagon, with the first call rhythm section team of Scottish drummer Andrew Bain and American bassist Michael Janisch.

John Taylor's individualistic piano style draws on the whole of the jazz pallette and considerable influence from classical music, his approach is characterised by a sophisticated and advanced rhythmic and harmonic sensibility. He has performed since the 60s with many of the most creative improvising musicians: Charlie Haden, Norma Winstone, Jan Garbarek, Enrico Rava, Gil Evens, and Lee Konitz. He currently tours the world with his trio featuring Mark Johnson and Joey Barron and teaches at universities in Cologne, Germany and York, England.

NYC residenct Jon Irabagon, winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition and Concord Recording Artist, has performed extensively as both a sideman and as a leader in an ever-expanding range of projects, from the most straight ahead to the most searching. Jon has studied under such divergent artists as Dave Liebman, Wynton Marsalis, Dick Oatts, Jason Moran and Victor Goines, and has performed and/or recorded with musical luminaries such as Billy Joel, Wynton Marsalis, Bright Eyes, Tom Harrell, Tommy Iago, Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, Deborah Gibson, John Abercrombie, Frank Wess, Wycliffe Gordon, Renee Fleming, Kenny Washington, Lou Reed, Jenny Lewis, and Ken Vandermark.

At: Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho 10 Dean Street Soho London W1D 3RW
Booking Tel : 0845 6027 017

Price of Admission: 25 Pounds (20 for students/musicians)