Born: August 26, 1987 Primary Instrument: Trumpet
At 24 years of age, Jonathan Saraga has already been recognized as one of the best young jazz trumpet players in the United States, and the world. Having won the 2007 International Trumpet Guild Jazz Improvisation Competition, and by performing as one of five finalists in the 2009 Carmine Caruso Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition, he has proven that his musicianship is indeed worthy of attention. He has performed on live televison broadcasts and live radio broadcasts in Paris and in several of the Carribean isles, and has performed in front of thousands at major music festivals including the Blue Note Jazz Festival in New York City. World-renowned jazz saxophonist Jimmy Greene hails Saraga's original music as “the best approach to modern jazz music: a thorough grounding in the rich tradition of the music coupled with a restless, searching spirit that seeks to express the music of now.” Greene also adds that Saraga's quintet features “engaging, tuneful, urgent modern jazz played at a very high level by young, masterful musicians.” Jonathan has worked as a trumpeter for over 30 stylistically diverse ensembles at over 40 venues around New York City, and has shared the stage with many of the world's most renowned jazz musicians, such as Wynton Marsalis, Mulgrew Miller, Ralph Peterson, Sean Jones, Jon Faddis, Eric Alexander, Jimmy Greene, Jon Gordon, John Abercrombie, Ray Vega, Jeremy Pelt, Jim Rotondi, Randy Brecker, and Ambrose Akinmusire to name only a few. Jonathan has also performed around NYC as a sideman with world famous groups such as the Arturo O'Farrill Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, at venues such as the Blue Note, Smoke, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, The Jazz Standard, and Birdland. Saraga's debut album as a leader, First Vision features his quintet, and is now in circulation, under review, and has already received praiseworthy comments from several internationally acclaimed jazz artists. World-renowned jazz trumpeter Jim Rotondi calls Saraga's music 'unique' and 'inventive', and says that it breathes “soul, intelligence, great technique and acute musical awareness. The album, which features all original compositions by Saraga showcases “highly creative playing and writing...all done with a strong and fresh ensemble concept,” as declared by award winning saxophonist Jon Gordon, and according to Grammy award winning jazz bassist Todd Coolman, Jonathan Saraga's “emerging original voice...is one that is indeed worthy of our attention.” Jonathan holds a Bachelor and Master of Music Degree.
Awards:Winner of the 2007 ITG Jazz Solo Competition Finalist in the 2009 Carmine Caruso Jazz Trumpet Competition
“I have long been an admirer of Jonathan’s musicianship, both as an excellent instrumentalist and a thoughtful, creative jazz improviser. Jonathan embodies what I feel is the best approach to modern jazz music: a thorough grounding in the rich tradition of the music coupled with a restless, searching spirit that seeks to express the music of now.” -Jimmy Greene
“With a fresh approach to trumpet playing and improvisation, the emerging original voice of Jonathan Saraga is one that is indeed worthy of our attention. -Todd Coolman
Jonathan is a top-notch player. I have no doubt that he will be among the best players of his generation. He possesses the necessary ability both as a trumpeter and a musician to lead the way forward in the jazz community. When I listen to new young player, I look for a someone who has a progressive style that is anchored in the tradition of the music. Jonathan already fits that model. -Scott Wendholt
Jonathan Saraga has everything he needs to be a vital part of a new wave of trumpet players: Soul, intelligence, great technique and acute musical awareness. It's all here, in the unique writing and the inventive playing. Dig it! -Jim Rotondi
Jonathan Saraga has been, from the first time I heard him play in 2005, a force. I never heard him take a solo, write a piece of music or, for that matter, have a conversation that wasn't pointed, serious and coming from a place of curiosity, interest and resolve. As a result, he has blossomed into an artist of real depth and the even better news is his relative youth -- who knows what he has yet to realize! -Pete Malinverni
Jonathan has always impressed me and this recording helps lay a foundation for what I know will be a great career. Check it out! - Scott Wendholt
“An excellent debut recording as a leader for Jonathan Saraga. Highly creative playing and writing throughout the CD, all done within a strong and fresh ensemble concept. - Jon Gordon
“It is certainly refreshing to hear the full scope of Jonathan's artistic personality as evidenced on this recording. This is engaging, tuneful, urgent modern jazz played at a very high level by young, masterful musicians. Jon’s debut is an inspiring, enjoyable listen, to say the least. - Jimmy Greene
Jonathan is an up and coming trumpeter with a unique voice as an improviser and composer. Jon's new recording is a splendid collection of originals which features some fine young musicians. His tone is dreamy and his solos are captivating. - Charles Blenzig
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