Born: December 2, 1974 Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
Jason Rigby is an assured New York-based musician whose jazz mixes conventional and “outside” improvisation in stirring fashion. His recent release “Translucent Space” (Fresh Sound Records), is garnering rave reviews and applause, putting Rigby’s name firmly on the map of New York’s creative music scene.
Rigby’s individuated saxophone tone and improvisational approach draw inspiration from such jazz pantheon figures as John Coltrane, Joe Henderson and Dewey Redman, and he has been described as displaying “a brilliant virtuosity & flexibility while handling some very complex harmonic lines & intervals.” (George W. Carroll, The Musician’s Ombudsman, May 06)
As an impressive composer meriting wider recognition, Rigby has developed his compositional style after having listened long and hard to primary compositional influences Wayne Shorter, Philip Glass, Ornette Coleman, and classical greats Mahler, Bartok and Shostakovich.
Originally from Cleveland, OH, his formal music studies were done at Youngstown State University in Ohio, DePaul University in Chicago and the Manhattan School of Music. Rigby has studied saxophone and composition privately with Dick Oatts, Mike Abene and Rich Perry and was voted “Best College Jazz Instrumentalist” by DownBeat magazine in 1999.
Just 32-years-old, Rigby is active on the New York jazz scene. Career highlights so far include working with the Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra; playing in Aretha Franklin’s band at Radio City Music Hall; and participating in a Cameron Brown-helmed project concerning Don Cherry jazz from the mid-‘60s. Rigby’s also a regular sideman with the Scott Dubois Quintet and at times with Mike Holober’s Gotham Jazz Orchestra, the Kris Davis Group and Eivind Opsvik’s Overseas, and the list of colleagues with whom he has performed only starts with notables David Leibman and Tony Malaby. He has taught at the New School (NYC), City College of NY and Stony Brook University and maintains a private jazz saxophone studio in NYC.
...the strength of Translucent Space lies in its coherence, intellect and accessibility—making it one of the year’s most remarkable debuts. - John Kelman, AllAboutJazz
Rigby's burly tenor tone and searching improvisations recall the expressionistic flights of Ornette Coleman and Joe Henderson. - John Murph, DownBeat
Rigby flirts with the same stratospheric heights Wayne Shorter explored with Miles. - J Hunter, AllAboutJazz
...the saxophonist's quintet sustains a daunting finesse while swinging full tilt on the new The Sage. - Jim Macnie, The Village Voice
Jason Rigby is a bold adventurous composer and saxophonist. - Jerry D'Souza, AllAboutJazz
He blends styles artfully and gives them a tangent and direction that are out of the ordinary and, in doing so, he brings in a perspective that is as exciting as it is satisfying. - Jerry D'Souza, AllAboutJazz
Translucent Space (Fresh Sound-New Talent), the new album by the saxophonist and bass clarinetist Jason Rigby, doesn't come by its name casually; it's an album of airy, often diaphanous music, with faint echoes of early fusion and Third Stream. - Nate Chinen, NY Times
A robust tenor/soprano stylist in the classic Post-War mold of John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter, Rigby also embraces the harmonically unfettered lyricism of Ornette Coleman. An improviser with a composer's mindset, his concise, linear statements extrapolate the formal constraints of a tune rather than just running the changes. - Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz
The young saxophonist's Translucent Space gave jitters a good name. The antsy music had enough grace to assuage its attack. That's a best of both worlds deal. - Jim Macnie, The Village Voice
An arresting debut from multi-reedman Rigby...as a composer and arranger his originality is even more striking...he's created a distinctive, if eclectic, synthesis of Wayne Shorter and Ornette Coleman, with echoes of Paul Motian's trio...One to watch. - Ray Comiskey, The Irish Times (Dublin, IR)
New York, NY
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.