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Tim Armacost

Armacost’s music is known for its balance of lyrical invention, harmonic sophistication and exciting interplay among top-tier band mates. His improvisations are brimming with ideas, but organized into a naturally flowing narrative. His unusual life story, which includes extended residencies in Japan, India, the Philippines, Holland and New York, informs his wide ranging musical explorations.

Touring regularly around the world both as a sideman and a leader, Armacost has worked with a phenomenal number of jazz greats, including Al Foster, Jimmy Cobb, Kenny Barron, Tom Harrell, Billy Hart, Victor Lewis, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Peter Erskine, Ray Drummond, Roy Hargrove, Don Friedman and Randy Brecker.

Armacost is not only known for his heat-of-the-moment playing. He also brings his storytelling skill to compositions for groups ranging from trios to big bands. He is a recipient of the prestigious Doris Duke/CMA “New Works” award. Four of his compositions were arranged by Michael Abene and Jim McNeely and recorded by Holland’s acclaimed Metropole Orchestra. Wynton Marsalis commissioned Armacost’s original composition and arrangement, “The Repose in All Things,” which is featured on the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s recent recording Jazz and Art II.

Armacost has recorded 14 critically acclaimed albums as a leader, performed on more than 60 as a sideman, and has recorded over 100 original songs and arrangements. Armacost is a widely respected educator, teaching at the Jamey Aebersold and Stanford Summer Jazz Workshops, at Queens College in New York City and as a clinician at Universities throughout the U.S., Japan and Europe.

Armacost co-leads the New York Standards Quartet, the Brooklyn Big Band, and In Trio, and is currently working on music for two new projects: a chord-less quartet featuring Gary Smulyan, John Patitucci and Al Foster, and a new quartet with Jim Ridl, Ugonna Okegwo and Rudy Royston. His most recent leader outing, Time Being, featuring Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts and Bob Hurst received 4 stars in Downbeat magazine, and has met with critical acclaim around the world.

Tim Armacost is a D’Addario Recording Artist, playing D’Addario reeds exclusively.


Album Review

Russ Spiegel: Caribbean Blue

Read "Caribbean Blue" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Pleasant music with ample color and variety--that's an apt description of Caribbean Blue, the latest albulm from California-bred, Florida-based guitarist Russ Spiegel, who has surrounded himself with world-class musicians and given them rein to canvass ten of his generally engaging compositions and bring them admirably to life. While everything on offer is respectable, it is the album's midsection--tracks 3-8--that rise above the others and lend the session much of its vitality and charm. After harmonica virtuoso Hendrik ...

Album Review

John Lang: Now Ear This

Read "Now Ear This" reviewed by Jack Bowers

For what it is, bassist John Lang's fourth album, Now Ear This, is quite well done. For jazz fans, the dilemma lies there, precisely in what it is--a series of eleven rock/fusion themes, nine written by Lang, which would be right at home on a smooth jazz/easy listening radio station, for example, but whose jazz content would earn them no more than a tenuous place on any playlist beyond that. Tempos are more or less proximate, as is the steady ...

Album Review

Tim Armacost: Time Being

Read "Time Being" reviewed by Luigi Sforza

La natura di un fenomeno è data dalla sommatoria di vari fattori, da una parte ci sono gli elementi che lo compongono, caratterizzandone i connotati, dall'altra il modo in cui quelli si combinano, e che ne costituiscono la forma. La capacità del demiurgo, dell'artista, si manifesta nell'abilità di manipolare la materia in modo che l'accostamento delle parti --per quanto riconoscibili o riconducibili a segni e stilemi preesistenti, strutturati e ampiamente usati --porti a risultati nuovi, ovvero ad opere originali e ...

Album Review

Tim Armacost: Time Being

Read "Time Being" reviewed by Geno Thackara

From the initial trotting bass solo smoothly segueing into a toe-tapping slice of timeless bop, Time Being's opening jaunt makes an introduction fascinatingly tricky and inviting. Those familiar with the wide-ranging saxophonist Tim Armacost, however, know he's got much more still up his sleeve--and that no matter how complicated things get, they'll stay listenable and accessible enough for any taste. The record is his first on Whirlwind Recordings, and it is indeed a whirlwind of clever ideas and rhythmic games: ...

Album Review

Tim Armacost: Time Being

Read "Time Being" reviewed by Roger Farbey

Tim Armacost may not be the most well-known jazz musician on the planet but he's certainly one of the best. His early life was spent in Tokyo, and Washington, then moving to Los Angeles at the age of 18. He travelled to Amsterdam and India where, in the spirit of The Beatles and John McLaughlin he assimilated much of that country's music. Finally he moved to New York in 1993 where he made his debut recording Fire. For this debut ...

Album Review

New York Standards Quartet: Unstandard

Read "Unstandard" reviewed by Larry Taylor

It's a pleasure when a group of great jazz players take American standards and reshape them with their own unique stamp. This happens on New York Standards Quartet's Unstandard, where the musical gambit--the direction these musicians take the originals--is often surprising. Pianist David Berkman leads the way, handling arrangements and contributing originals, all the while taking impeccable solos. This is a joint effort, and veteran drummer Gene Jackson is invaluable, impressively powering the pace, aided by bassist Yosuke ...

Live Review

Tim Armacost: Rhythm and Transformation

Read "Tim Armacost: Rhythm and Transformation" reviewed by Matt Merewitz

Tim Armacost talks about 'choices [he] made' that determined the path he has taken as a musician. His direction was not always self-evident and its constant evolution has taken him from the US to Japan, to the Netherlands, to India, and back to the US, where has been for the past decade.

In his home base of New York, Armacost can be seen playing regularly with critically acclaimed pianist Bruce Barth, and bassist Ugonna Okegwo. In addition he ...

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Guitarist Russ Spiegel Releases 'Caribbean Blue' with Guests Brian Lynch, Tim Armacost, Hendrik Meurkens and more on RuzzTone Music

Guitarist Russ Spiegel Releases 'Caribbean Blue' with Guests Brian Lynch, Tim Armacost, Hendrik Meurkens and more on RuzzTone Music

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

A world-class guitarist by anyone’s definition, California-born Russ Spiegel is also a composer, arranger, big band leader, mixing engineer, educator and much more, including a world traveler. Though not entirely, much of the music in Caribbean Blue is a tip of the hat to some of his destinations and the cultures he’s experienced, and homage to many of the genres of music he loves, and, perhaps most importantly, a reminder of just how small the world really is. Throughout his ...


Book / Magazine

Tim Armacost's 'The Jazz Saxophone Book' Available Now!

Tim Armacost's 'The Jazz Saxophone Book' Available Now!

Source: Sher Music Co.

Sher Music Co. has recently released a landmark book by New York jazz heavyweight, Tim Armacost entitled The Jazz Saxophone Book. This book was written for all students of jazz, from relative beginners to professionals. For novices, Tim gives a firm foundation in jazz harmony and creative ways to work on sound, time and building a jazz vocabulary. For more advanced players, the book covers ideas for becoming a musical storyteller, the skills needed to show up at a jam ...


Performance / Tour

Michael Janisch receives prestigious Arts Council Touring Grant for April UK Tour featuring Tim Armacost, Gene Jackson and David Berkman

Michael Janisch receives prestigious Arts Council Touring Grant for April UK Tour featuring Tim Armacost, Gene Jackson and David Berkman

Source: Michael Janisch

Acoustic Bassist and Whirlwind Recordings label boss Michael Janisch has just been awarded a prestigious Touring Grant by the Arts Council England for his major April 2012 UK tour featuring three marquee New York based musicians in saxophonist Tim Armacost (Jeff 'Tain' Watts, Tom Harrell), pianist David Berkman (Joe Lovano, Brian Blade) and drummer Gene Jackson (Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland), collectively known as the New York Standards Quartet. The tour takes place from the 7th-23rd of April and will see ...


Performance / Tour

Catch the Brooklyn Big Band at Cafe Iguana (NYC)

Catch the Brooklyn Big Band at Cafe Iguana (NYC)

Source: Michael Ricci

The Brooklyn Big band performs regularly at Cafe Iguana in NYC.

The band, led by Tim Armacost and Craig Bailey, plays a blazing style of original music on the first and third Mondays of every month at Cafe Iguana, at 240 W. 54th st, just west of Broadway. The group is celebrating the release of its first recording, Live at Sweet Rhythm, on Candid Records.

Cafe Iguana, 240 W. 54th St, near Broadway

Every 1st and 3rd Monday of the ...


Performance / Tour

Tim Armacost with Matt Wilson-Monday Jazz at the Turning Point Cafe, Piermont, NY

Tim Armacost with Matt Wilson-Monday Jazz at the Turning Point Cafe, Piermont, NY

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

MONDAY JAZZ at the Turning Point Cafe Piermont, N.Y.

Great atmosphere, menu, and prices Jazz Every Monday 8pm-11pm

Monday January 14, 2008 Saxophonist Tim Armacost Quartet Matt Wilson, drums, Mike McGuirk, bass Matt Shulman, trumpet Mondays January 21, 28 Saxophonist John Richmond Quartet Monday February 4 Vibraphonist Mark Sherman Quintet Joe Magnarelli, trumpet Alan Farnham, p, Dean Johnson, b, Tim ...

As Tim stated earlier, his goal was offer a record at once open and modern and still accessible, welcoming to listeners. He has succeeded on a grand scale. This is an important record, not just because of this fresh idea of mixing a world rhythm with the jazz methodology, but because of its superb meeting of jazz’ past and its present, of its beguiling tableau of lyricism and energy. We can use uplifting, vital music like this in times like these. Zan Stewart
Primary Instrument

Saxophone, tenor


New York City

Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


Armacost was the head of the Saxophone Department at the Sweelinck Conservatory, Amsterdam, from 1987 until 1991. He left the school to concentrate more on performing. Armacost is currently on the faculty of the Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop, does frequent guest appearances at colleges and high schools around the world, and teaches individuals at his home outside of New York City. Armacost is also working towards a masters degree in jazz composition at Queens College, under the guidance of Michael Mossman.




Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Caribbean Blue

RuzzTone Music


Now Ear This

Self Produced


Large Format

System Dialing Records


Time Being

Whirlwind Recordings Ltd



Challenge Records


Rhythm and...





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