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Jonathan Saraga

Trumpeter, Composer, Arranger, Clinician

About Me

Manhattan, NYC native, trumpeter and composer Jonathan Saraga has been said by All About Jazz to possess the musical “wisdom and maturity of veterans more than twice his age,” and that “his chops, lust for musical life and don't-box-me- into-a-stylistic-corner mentality make him seem like the musical offspring of trumpeters Dave Douglas and Ambrose Akinmusire." As the winner of the 2007 International Trumpet Guild Jazz Solo Competition, and one of five finalists in the 2009 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Competition, Jonathan has been proving that his original voice “ one that is indeed worthy of attention,” (as bassist Todd Coolman proclaims), and that he is emerging as “...a force...” (as pianist Pete Malinverni calls him) within the jazz community. To further cement proof of his unique abilities, note that Saraga was one of two trumpeters selected from an international pool to participate in the 2010 School of Improvisational Music Intensive Program, and was one of only two trumpeters considered for the 2014 Juilliard Artist Diploma. Since obtaining his Masters degree as a performing artist in 2011, he has been featured as part of the Young Emerging Artists Series at the Bar Next Door at La Lanterna Cafe, and as part of the Emerging Players Series for Festival of New Trumpet Music. He has been subject to interview by Festival of New Trumpet Music, The Trumpet Blog, We Are the Art, and Fluke Productions in London. Jonathan has been presenting his original music around NYC, at the Shapeshifter Lab, Seeds, Sycamore, the Douglas St. Music Collective, iBeam, the University of the Streets, and Smalls Jazz Club where the music from his debut album, First Vision, was premiered in 2012. The record features all Saraga-penned original works, and has been stated by All About Jazz to be "...a skillfully conceived and exquisitely realized debut that brings to mind the edgy, envelope-pushing hard bop of many a Blue Note record in the early 1960s." They have even hailed it as a "...stand up and take notice musical offering...," and speak of it's "...rare blend of individuality and maturity..." First Vision has received air-play throughout the east-coast on stations like 90.3 FM the Core, Weaa 88.9, and BreakThru Radio's show the Jazz Hole. It has since been adopted by the Blue Truffle Music record label, and continues to circulate around the U.S. Jonathan has worked as a sideman for Arturo O'Farrill, Jason Marshall, Orrin Evans, among other greats, and has performed at numerous jazz festivals in New York including Cadence, Peekskill, Rochester, Albany, and Blue Note. In addition to having performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, the National Arts Club, the Rose Hall, the Blue Note and so many of the other renowned spaces in NYC, he has toured nationally as lead trumpeter with Damn Yankees, and has made appearances at the Putra World Trade Center in Malaysia, as well as many venues in Haiti and Europe. In addition to continuing his service as an educator at the Gramercy Brass Band Camp, going on 5 years, Jonathan teaches at public schools throughout the five boroughs with the Afro Latin Jazz Academy of Music, and as an independent master-clinician, having worked with students at Wagner Middle School, PS 126/MAT, the Urban Assembly School of Music and Art, as well as out of his own private studio.

My Jazz Story

I am passionate about allowing music to speak for itself, and I am dedicated to refining my craft in order to further express myself and express truth in the most sincere way I can. I am continuously striving to remember my relationship with the infinite and to play music with a vision of that very place; a place of infinite possibility. I believe that music is a gateway to something unexplainable; to a place where we all come from, and where we all are moving toward. It is a blessing and a miracle to have the opportunity be able to share that understanding with you, by exploring the phenomena of sound, and by expressing it through the beauty of human expression. As Hazrat Inayat Khan exclaims, "music seems to be the bridge over the gulf between form and the formless." Music truly seems to be a place that we, as a race, as spirit can go to re-connect with what it is that we really are, beyond the barrier of flesh. In colaboration with other musicians who have a common goal, I wish you to join us, as we carry the majesty of music through the familiar, and into the unknown.

My Favorites

  1. Clifford Brown - Clifford Brown with Strings
  2. Kurt Rosenwinkle - Heartcore
  3. Ben Monder - Oceana