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“Thanks to dewy immersions like “Too Many Dreams,” haunted by abstraction but guided by a compassionate pulse, this is his strongest statement yet.”
– New York Times
“Parzen-Johnson’s vaguely alien compositions split the difference between the organic and the synthetic with a far-reaching, expressive sound that carries an indefinable beauty.”
– LA Times
“This album vividly channels free-jazz with elements of improvisation and composition, combining to create a sustained meditative mood, transporting listeners to another world.”
– Downbeat Magazine
Jonah Parzen-Johnson plays music for solo baritone saxophone and analog synthesizer. Imagine the raw energy of an Appalachian choir, balanced by a fearlessly exposed saxophone voice, resting on a unique combination of analog synthesizer components sitting on the floor in front of him. It all breathes together, as he uses his feet to weave square and sawtooth waves into a surging base for folk inspired saxophone melodies, overblown multi phonics, and patiently developed circular breathing passages. Every element is performed and recorded live, solo, without any looping, overdubbing or recorded samples. It is music with texture, and depth, but most of all, it is direct and grounded in performance. Jonah remains deeply committed to music that connects to the listener. A Chicago native, Jonah’s circular breathing, multi-phonics and inclusively experimental style owe a debt to the Chicago saxophone legacy, but his devotion to a quirky almost vocal approach places him in new territory for the solo saxophone.
Since 2012, Jonah has toured over 40 thousand miles, by himself, across the US and Canada. Highlights include shows at The Stone in New York NY, Constellation in Chicago IL, Suoni Per il Popolo festival in Montreal, and the Creative Music Guild Improvisors Summit in Portland OR. Along with playing solo, he is a coleader of Brooklyn Afrobeat outfit, Zongo Junction, and an active part of Brooklyn NY’s independent and experimental music communities. He has appeared as a sideman with Adia Victoria (Late Night w/Steven Colbert), This Is The Kit, Ex Reyes, Lenny Pickett, Randy Brecker, and Kenny Werner.
Jonah has a Bachelor’s of Music from NYU, and a Master’s of Music from The Manhattan School of Music. In addition to performing, Jonah is a busy instructor with, a full studio of private students (woodwinds, computer music), weekly classroom instruction (theory, wind ensembles), and guest master classes at schools including Oberlin and Princeton.