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Jonah Parzen-Johnson: You're Never Really Alone


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Jonah Parzen-Johnson: You're Never Really Alone
You're Never Really Alone is the seventh solo album from baritone saxophonist Jonah Parzen-Johnson. "Solo" is misleading as Parzen-Johnson's nuanced use of electronics has consistently added the kind of multiple dimensions that belie the work of a single player. This album, in contrast, is wholly acoustic but showcases Parzen-Johnson's remarkable ability to create enigmatic, deeply moving and mystical soundscapes and narratives.

Even without his customary electronic enhancements, Parzen-Johnson utilizes the full range of sounds available from the baritone sax (and the flute on two pieces), accomplishing this through circular breathing, multiphonics and volatile points of sound. This album celebrates both unconventionality and a collective yearning to create a spiritual link if just for this brief experience.

There is a deep closeness and implicit peril in "When I Feel Like Myself," a slow-moving lava flow that gently shatters as it approaches the listener. "Not Writing About This" is cleverly indirect. It slants toward a chorale and then chooses not to make that definitive statement. Parzen-Johnson takes up the flute again on "There Is So Much I Regret" (as on the earlier track "There Is So Much I'm Afraid Of"). The piece is beautifully atmospheric, introspective, balanced and just slightly rough around the edges. He closes the program with the stunning "Named For You," reflecting the otherworldly aspect of his shared experience with the listener.

You're Never Really Alone is a different kind of experimental music with a uniquely heartfelt presence. As he did on Friendship Music for Turkey (Self Produced, 2023), his only non-solo recording, with Istanbul drummer Berke Can Özcan, Parzen-Johnson reserves witticism for song titles. The music is haunting, brooding and thought-provoking. The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians guides the Chicago native as much as his academic degrees, but his compositions and improvisations are far more instilled with personal intimacy. This is another unusual and appealing collection, and Parzen-Johnson's star shines brighter with each release.

Track Listing

When I Feel Like Myself; There Is So Much I'm Afraid Of; Not Writing About This; Everyone Is Somewhere; The Courage Song; There Is So Much I Regret; What They Love; Named For You.


Jonah Parzen-Johnson
saxophone, baritone
Additional Instrumentation

Jonah Parzen-Johnson: flute (2,6)

Album information

Title: You're Never Really Alone | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: We Jazz Records



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