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Dann Zinn

As a world-class saxophonist/flutist, Dann Zinn is renowned for being a passionate soloist and composer/arranger. Hailed over the years as “inventive,” “distinctive,” and for “creating a stunning and emotional listening experience,” Dann has developed a unique style distinguishing him as a one of a kind artist with a tone unlike any other horn player on the jazz scene today.

Zinn’s resume includes working with Allison Miller, Derrick Hodge, Geoffrey Keezer, Joe Henderson, Taylor Eigsti, Terri Lyne Carrington, Jeff Tain Watts, Freddie Hubbard, Chuck Findley, Mary Wells, Martha and the Vandellas, Barry Finnerty, Frank Martin, among many others. In addition to his five CDs, Ten Songs, Wish, Grace’s Song, Shangri La, and the newest, Day Of Reckoning, his impressive discography includes over 100 appearances as a featured soloist and sideman on albums with prominent musicians. Dann’s performances have spanned international stages including being featured at the San Francisco Jazz Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the world famous Yoshi’s, where he has played to sold-out crowds. He has garnered critical acclaim from prestigious publications such as DownBeat Magazine, Jazz Times, Jazziz, and local media such as the Oakland Magazine. Dann’s other performance history includes television, radio, and multi media videos, and even children’s specials.

Dann entered the Bay Area music scene as a teenager and after studying and working in L.A. and Aspen, found himself in New York. In his early years, he mentored with Lenny Pickett, Eddie Daniels, and Ernie Watts. Zinn spent time gigging and touring New England only to return to California where he has become one of the most sought after sax players around.

Zinn’s first two original releases, Ten Songs and Wish received immediate praise and widespread recognition. Zinn’s music is revered as “deeply idiosyncratic and shaped by his synthesis of seemingly polar influences.” The expertise of the late great drummer Paul VanWageningen, and the late brilliant bassist John Shifflett, and guitarist Tim Volpicella create a feel that is sophisticated and sincere, ethnic and classical, and leaves the listener craving more. Musicians comment on Zinn’s “beautiful ethereal folk melodies,” with complex chords underneath. The additions of electric bass of Paul’s brother Mark Van Wageningen, and the percussion of Brian Rice made for a rich and full-bodied musical experience noted as “auspicious,” “truly impressive,” and “brilliant!” “Zinn’s music is said to combine Garbarek’s crystalline sound with a handful of East Bay grease.”

Later, Zinn began to experiment with adding piano to his band, which lead him to Grace’s Song featuring Taylor Eigsti on piano, John Shifflett on bass and Alan Hall on drums. This release again features Zinn’s original compositions and magnificent arrangements of the timeless standard Stardust by Hoagy Carmichael and the classic Police tune, King of Pain. Zinn’s compositions are uniquely his. Critics called it “…a blend of beautiful melodies, intense solos: turns out it’s a journey well worth taking…” and “jazz that feels like you have come home.” The musicians are guided by their own interpretations of Zinn’s imagination. They work together seamlessly and have developed a creative atmosphere that compliments Zinn’s style, but one that also taps into their individual personalities. “Zinn’s compositions and arrangements are so potent…it demands and deserves our attention.”

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Album Review

Jim Witzel Trio & Quartet: Feelin' It

Read "Feelin' It" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Feelin' It, guitarist Jim Witzel's second album as leader, features his trio (Brian Ho, Hammond B3 organ; Jason Lewis, drums) on five of eight numbers, with tenor saxophonist Dann Zinn added on a trio of Witzel's original compositions. Although Witzel has recorded only twice in the past thirty years, that is basically because his successful career as an educator and in- demand sideman and leader has kept him from returning to the studio. As Witzel shows on ...

Album Review

Dann Zinn: Shangri La

Read "Shangri La" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Maybe we've had it all wrong about Shangri-La. Instead of viewing it as a fictional utopian locale, as laid out by author James Hilton in his famed Lost Horizon (Macmillan, 1933), it can be alternately viewed as a wide-open musical state of being waiting to be explored. That's what saxophonist Dann Zinn seems to go for on this aptly-titled release. For this project, Zinn put together a flexible trio capable of blurring lines. Atmospherics and solid-state jams ...

Album Review

Dann Zinn 4: Grace's Song

Read "Grace's Song" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Saxophonist Dann Zinn's third release as a leader, Grace's Song, is an intriguing and charismatic album. Interestingly, however, the very feature that makes it consistently engaging also results in a lack of thematic unity. This unevenness can simultaneously delight and frustrate, depending on circumstances.Zinn is a virtuoso tenor saxophonist inspired by saxophone master Sonny Rollins' brassy and thick sound and sophisticated, recognizable style. Zinn's eloquent, passionate solo burst out of pianist Taylor Eigsti's percussive chords with darkly modal ...

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Seven Shades of Violet

Ridgeway Records


Feelin' It

Self Produced


Shangri La

Self Produced


Grace's Song

Self Produced


Seven Shades of Violet

From: Seven Shades of Violet
By Dann Zinn


Michael Brecker
saxophone, tenor
Jan Garbarek
saxophone, tenor
Bobby Watson
saxophone, alto
Barry Finnerty
guitar, electric

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