Born: March 4, 1980 Primary Instrument: Piano
Arriving on the Denver scene just a few years ago, Jon Wirtz has since performed for millions of people both locally and nationally. Over the past 10 years he has performed mainly as a sideman, having worked with Grammy winning producers Malcolm Burn and John Macy, and shared the stage with artists including Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Robbie Krieger (The Doors), Melissa Etheridge, Joe Bonner, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Matt Morris, Charlie Sexton and even Justin Timberlake. In addition to performing with Matt Morris on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” Wirtz has also appeared on “CBS Early Morning Show,” “Ellen” (the Ellen DeGeneres Show), and “Lopez Tonight” (George Lopez). For the past 5 years he has studied under Art Lande, an internationally respected jazz educator and Grammy nominated pianist/composer. In 2011 and 2012, his project Jon Wirtz & The Debut was nominated as a finalist in the national Telluride Jazz Competition.
Despite these successes, Wirtz is more driven than ever to share his creativity with listeners all over the world. In the fall of 2010, he took one more step in that direction by displaying his versatility on his first solo album entitled Sea Level, which showcases original compositions as well as his own unique interpretations on a few choice covers. Since debuting the record to a sold out audience at the world renown Dazzle jazz club, the album has received rave reviews, including its recognition as one of the best Denver albums of 2010 by the Westword.
His latest effort, a full length record entitled Tourist, is due for release in April of 2013. Featuring some of the region's best musiciansincluding John Macy on pedal steel, Gabriel Mervine on trumpet, and Brer Rabbit of the Flobots, to name a fewthis concept record features arrangements as large as a 6 piece band, as small as solo piano, and everything in between.
Wirtz feels as though he is just now getting warmed up, and based on the path he has already begun carving for himself, the future is extremely promising.
Awards:"Country," an original composition off his 2013 record "Tourist," was chosen to be included on a national compilation for the "Sing 4 the Trees" competition, headed by Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell. In 2011 and 2012, his project "Jon Wirtz & The Debut" was nominated as a finalist in the national Telluride Jazz Competition.
“Indeed the skill set of the player will dictate how well your attention span can be maintained. What am I trying to say? Wirtz pulls it off flawlessly.” – Michael Mullins – Skope Mag
“ 'Sea Level' by Jon Wirtz is a brilliant collection of music.” – Cyrus Rhodes – Indie Music Digest
“He is no doubt a gifted player & composer . . . It takes talent to hold the attention span of a listener with just one instrument, Wirtz pulls this off with sheer poise.” – Markus Druery – Indieshark
“ 'Sea Level' (first record) is one amazing solo debut…” – Jeanie Straub – Colorado Music Buzz
“ 'Sea Level' by Jon Wirtz is an impressive collection of music. The more you look at, the more impressive it really is.” – Markus Druery – Indieshark
“There was a lyricism, a beauty and intimate melodic feel that really comes through in every song regardless of what else is happening…” – Michael Anderson – Gear Diary
“Though 'Sea Level' reflects jazz piano greats like Ahmad Jamal, Keith Jarrett and, of course, Thelonious Monk, it also has pop touchstones that make it accessible to even the most neophyte of jazz listeners…” – Eryc Eyl – The Denver Post
“No doubt more work is required from a musician to fill this sonic space all by himself thus keeping the attention span of the listener all by himself. Brilliant artists can rise to this challenge, & I give Wirtz high marks for taking this on & even pulling it off. The musicianship is clearly first rate…” – Cyrus Rhodes – Indie Music Digest
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