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Jon Armstrong

Jonathan Armstrong is a fiercely creative musician, composer and educator living in Los Angeles. His background is a mix of intensive academic training and extensive professional experiences on saxophones, guitar, piano, clarinet, flute, bass, and electronic sampler. He holds a B.M. in Music from the University of Washington and a M.F.A. in Jazz Reeds from the California Institute of the Arts. He studied composition and theory with John Rahn, Jonathan Bernhard and Robert Wannamaker, and pursued improvisational studies with Marc Seales, Larry Koonse, Vinny Golia, Thara Memory, Charlie Haden and Wadada Leo Smith. He also studied tenor saxophone with Michael Brockman and various world music traditions including Gamelan music from Indonesia, North Indian Classical Music, Persian Classical Music, and in depth private studies in Anlo-Ewe music from Ghana.

Jonathan maintains a busy performance schedule as a highly sought after musician in Los Angeles. Along with frequent gigs and recording sessions, he plays regularly with bands led by Mike Barone, Vincent Gallo, Bennie Maupin, Vinny Golia, and Dan Rosenboom. Jonathan also founded the critically acclaimed modern jazz quartet Slumgum and the cutting edge electronic psychedelic group Pitch Like Masses. He has performed with these projects throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan.

As a composer, Jonathan has written music for film and theatre. In 2012 he composed and conducted an original score for a nine-piece chamber group in the ground-breaking theatre piece “Homo Economicus”. In addition, his original contemporary classical pieces are premiered frequently around Los Angeles. These pieces represent a wide variety of ensembles from solo piano to a 20 piece large ensemble that features elements of improvised conduction and a spoken word artist.

In 2013, Jonathan formed the Jon Armstrong Jazz Orchestra, a 22 piece modern big band that is dedicated to realizing his daring long form compositions. These compositions are the culmination of Jonathan’s career incorporating sophisticated structures of modern classical music, complex rhythms and forms of world music and expressive jazz improvisation. The large ensemble has performed to enthusiastic capacity crowds and recently recorded the debut album.

Jonathan's passion for reaching out to the community and educating young minds in the ways of music has led him to design and teach multiple improvisation and listening based curriculums that he's employed throughout Los Angeles. He currently teaches private lessons as well as jazz ensembles for Heart of Los Angeles, Harmony Project, Barnhart School and Los Angeles City College.


Album Review

Jon Armstrong Sextet: Reabsorb

Read "Reabsorb" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Saxophonist Jon Armstrong reminds us that life and death are two sides of the same coin. Although seemingly disparate, like two sides of an LP, they cannot be separated. His sextet recording Reabsorb models this contrasting device by presenting two contrasting compositions, one on each side of an LP (also available as a CD and download). The music, inspired by an Erin Armstrong poem, presents both sides, which at first encounter come off as binary elements. Loud and soft. Busy ...

Album Review

Jon Armstrong: Burnt Hibiscus

Read "Burnt Hibiscus" reviewed by Dave Wayne

Now firmly ensconced as the Director of Jazz Studies at Idaho State University, Jon Armstrong may just be a little homesick. Well, more than a little. After all, Pocatello is a far cry from the multi-cultural hustle and bustle of his hometown of Los Angeles. It's not surprising that Armstrong's new album, Burnt Hibiscus is a quirky and ambitious paean to the City of Angels. In Armstrong's own words, Burnt Hibiscus is an ..."unsentimental love letter to Los Angeles, highlighting ...

Album Review

Jon Armstrong Jazz Orchestra: Farewell

Read "Farewell" reviewed by Dave Wayne

I am beginning to wonder if every jazz musician has, in some dark corner of their psyche, a suppressed ambition to lead a big band. Economically unfeasible, logistically impossible--but artistically gratifying--a big band is perhaps the ultimate way to make manifest one's greatest musical ambitions. You get to conduct, pick your own solos, compose and arrange on a grand scale, and luxuriate in the pure sound power of a couple of dozen other great musicians playing your compositions and arrangements. ...


Jon Armstrong: Limitless Enthusiasm

Read "Jon Armstrong: Limitless Enthusiasm" reviewed by Fiona Ord-Shrimpton

Of those jazz men who are still left (of course today is a new day and jazz is dying again), the Jon Armstrong Jazz Orchestra's debut album Farewell, is something new to say hello to. The end is the beginning you know. Jon Armstrong has a (so-far) limitless enthusiasm for being in the thick of music, he is both mature experience and child psyche, surrounded by the vibrant jny: Los Angeles music scene, gifted with Daniel Rosenboom as his inspirational ...

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Video / DVD

Jon Armstrong Jazz Orchestra, An Ensemble Linked To LA’s Burgeoning Jazz Scene, Are Set To Release A Cinematic Music Video

Jon Armstrong Jazz Orchestra, An Ensemble Linked To LA’s Burgeoning Jazz Scene, Are Set To Release A Cinematic Music Video

Source: lorena endara

Twenty two piece ensemble, Jon Armstrong Jazz Orchestra will release their first music video. “The gifted Los Angeles tenor saxophonist,” (The Sydney Morning Herald) teamed up with Los Angeles based multimedia company Producciones Con Sal to produce and direct the music video for “Dream Has No Friend” off their debut album Farewell. The cinematic Jazz music video is set to premiere this July 10th at ArtShare LA in Downtown jny: Los Angeles. “Dream Has No Friend” was composed by Jon ...



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Orenda Records


Burnt Hibiscus

Orenda Records



Orenda Records



Orenda Records



From: Farewell
By Jon Armstrong


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