From New York to China, saxophonist Jonathan Parker has brought a dynamic musicianship to appreciative audiences. As a sideman, bandleader, and teacher, Parker has synthesized a varied musical and educational background as he makes his mark on the contemporary jazz scene.
Since graduating from The Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2008, Jonathan has gone on to perform in cities across the United States and China. He relocated to Shanghai in 2008 where he lived and performed for two years. During his time in Shanghai, Jonathan became an in-demand sideman appearing at jazz and pop festivals in cities throughout China including Beijing, Hangzhou, and Hong Kong and performed with both Chinese and American artists including a performance with Dee-Dee Bridgewater at the 2009 Shanghai JZ International Jazz Festival. In 2010 The Kennedy Center, recognizing Jonathan’s talent for jazz composition and performance, accepted him into their Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program. In 2012, Jonathan was a recipient of the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award for his original composition, Lois.
In 2015 Jonathan released his second album Interloper, featuring all-original works arranged for jazz octet. Released on the small NYC-based One Trick Dog label, the album received airplay throughout the country and warm reviews from critics. Dan Bilawsky of All About Jazz said “It’s an exciting octet date that’s chock-full of tight ensemble work and compelling solo statements. Parker utilizes all of the tone colors and rhythmic tools at his disposal here, alternately creating swinging unison statements, punchy background figures, measured support, and gorgeous chorale-like passages. Interloper is an album that shows the full depth and breadth of his talent(s), both as player and writer.” And Michael West of the Washington City Paper wrote “Parker’s debut album Interloper is, first and foremost, a showcase for the leader’s writing in both arrangements and compositions. Lucky for us, that writing happens to be superb.”
In addition to leading his own ensembles, Jonathan is an active sideman with several other groups. Most notably, the Atlanta-based Theodicy Jazz Collective, which regularly performs throughout the country, and the Washington, D.C. calypso juggernaut the Harry Bells.
Jonathan also collaborates with several rock bands, lending his arranging chops and horn orchestrations to multiple studio albums. His most recent arrangement work can be heard on Gainesville, Florida-based Hedges’ debut album, Mixed Signals and Washington, D.C.-based ensemble The North Country’s record In Defense of Cosmic Altruism.
After stints in both Washington, D.C. and Rochester, NY, Jonathan moved to New York City in 2016 and has been slowly building a name for himself as an accomplished saxophonist, composer, arranger, and educator.