Home » Jazz Musicians » Gian Tornatore

Gian Tornatore

Tenor saxophonist Gian Tornatore has emerged as a prominent voice in the New York City jazz scene. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, the California native moved to New York City in 2002 and has made a name for himself as an exciting and dynamic performer, composer, and educator.

Gian (pronounced John) has recorded for record label Fresh Sound New Talent and has released four albums as a leader: Sink or Swim (2003), Blackout (2005), Fall (2008), and The Heights (2012). He credits Joe Lovano, Branford Marsalis, Pat Metheny, Joshua Redman, and Sonny Rollins as his most notable influences in shaping his voice as a musician.

Gian has performed with some of the world’s leading jazz, Latin, and rock musicians and groups including Dick Oatts, Geoffrey Keezer, Rodney Whitaker, Carl Allen, Chuchito Valdez, and Heart, to name a few. Gian has also been recognized by numerous organizations and publications, such as Downbeat Magazine for his musical achievements as a bandleader, composer, and performer, and by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz as a semi-finalist in the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in education at Teachers College, Columbia University.


Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition Semi-Finalist, 2008; Jazz Instrumental Soloist - Outstanding Performance, Downbeat Magazine, 2004


Album Review
Read more articles
“Red-carpet worthy with…melodic coursing that spruces a debonair flare.” Jazz Times – May 2009 | Susan Frances

“A rising young star in the jazz world.” eJazzNews – June 2009 | Edward Blanco

“A new standard of excellence for my ears.” Bass Musician Magazine – June 2009 | Damian Erskine

“Tornatore has developed his own signature sound.” JazzReview.com – October 2007 | Lorelei Clarke

“…He’s swimming with Coltrane.” Village Voice – June 2005 | Tom Hull

“His sound is pure and melodic. Gian Tornatore is a saxophonist with style and feeling.” JazzReview.com – May 2005 | Lee Prosser

“His tone is clear as a bell and his compositions display a quiet intelligence that’s refreshing to behold.” All About Jazz – March 2005 | Florence Wetzel

“Straight-ahead and burly of tone, the leader of this quartet communicates with the listener of several planes

Read more

Primary Instrument

Saxophone, tenor


New York City


Ed.D. – Teachers College, Columbia University, Present Doctor of Education in Music Ed.M. – Teachers College, Columbia University, May 2006 Master of Education in Music B.A. – Berklee College of Music, May 2002 Music Performance and Music Business Management



The Heights (2012)

Sound Spiral



Sound Spiral


Sink or Swim

Fresh Sound Records


Sink or Swim

Fresh Sound Records




Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.