Born: December 14, 1981 Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
“In my travels, I am exposed to hundreds of saxophonists every year. Ian Rapien is by far the most unique saxophonist I have heard in several years”, says Smooth-Jazz best-selling recording artist Walter Beasley. “In addition to his incredible delivery his compositions are equally impressive. In my opinion Ian represents the best of the new young musicians poised to take instrumental music to the next level.” After hearing Ian Rapien play the saxophone, most people find it hard to believe that he is only 24. Ian grew up in Anaheim, California, an extremely vibrant music scene for numerous genres including Rock, Rap, and DJ based dance music styles, all of which would go on to influence him in ways he would never have dreamed when first concentrated on the study of jazz. Rapien started playing the alto saxophone at age 10 in the elementary school music program, continuing with the program through high school. Displaying exceptional talent at an early age, Ian was invited to partake in numerous honor groups, most notably the All Southern California High School Jazz All Stars, taking the first Tenor Saxophone chair at the age of 16. Upon completion of high school, he started at the Berklee College of Music in 2000 on a merit-based scholarship. While at Berklee, a school renowned for enormous musical resources, Ian had the opportunity to play in all the top bands, while studying with world renowned musicians such as Joe Lovano, Kenny Garrett, Walter Beasley, George Garzone, and Hal Crook. At the end of his berklee career, Ian was awarded the woodwind achievement award, given to a woodwind student who displays outstanding talent, and best represents the department inside and outside the school. “[Spectrums] blur the lines between jazz, electronica, progressive rock, and jam-band styles, making the piece sound like a cross between Miles Davis, Bela Bleck and the Flecktones, and the Dave Mathews Band”(Jazziz Magazine). Always in search of creating new forms of _expression, Rapien created his group Spectrums in 2002, envisioning a new brand of jazz that could excite both jazz musicians and those newer to the idiom. The plan? To fuse contemporary genres such as electronica, rock and hip hop- the styles he was exposed to early in his native southern California- with jazz and funk, all to be performed by a quartet comprised of the brightest young jazz musicians on the scene today. Having always been fascinated with sound effects stemming from rock and electronic music, Ian added electronics to his saxophone upon the creation of Spectrums to further stretch the surreal soundscapes Spectrums produces. The final result has had audiences at their feet at every venue, from the average bars with the average Joe to the most legit jazz clubs with musically sophisticated audiences. How is the best way to hear Ian play? Ian performs in the New England area in countless groups, which have included performances on stage with Telarc Recording artist Hiromi, Smooth Jazz Legend Walter Beasley, percussionist Eguie Castrillo (Arturo Sandoval, Tito Puente, Paquito D’Rivera), and drummer Kenwood Denard (Maceo Parker, Wayne Shorter), and an opening with Spectrums for guitarist John Scofield. Ian has also appeared on several recordings, including the vocal jazz sensation Syncopation’s debut release “A New Dance”, Warr Guitarist Kai Kurosawa’s “Doubts”, and Paul Im and Remember Rockefeller’s “Lightness of My Being”. While at the school, Ian was also featured in the October 2003 collegiate issue of Jazziz Magazine, highlighting twelve of the brightest jazz musicians in the country. He also appeared on the first release of Berklee’s new jazz label, Jazz Revelation Records, appearing three times (one of which with Spectrums)- more than any other musician at the school. While having accomplished so much at an early age, Rapien remains humble. Never one to remain on his haunches, Ian is thankful for the opportunities he has had, but is always in search to improve.