Jon Irabagon, winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition, has performed extensively as both a sideman and as a leader in an ever-expanding range of projects, from the most straight ahead to the most searching. Jon has studied under such divergent artists as Dave Liebman, Wynton Marsalis, Dick Oatts, Jason Moran and Victor Goines, and has performed and/or recorded with musical luminaries such as Billy Joel, Wynton Marsalis, Bright Eyes, Tom Harrell, Tommy Iago, Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, Deborah Gibson, John Abercrombie, Frank Wess, Wycliffe Gordon, Renee Fleming, Kenny Washington, Lou Reed, Jenny Lewis, Ron Sexsmith, and Ken Vandermark. Jon has performed and done clinics and workshops in the United States, Canada, Europe, Macau, Taiwan, Costa Rica, and Japan, and performs regularly in New York City’s top venues such as Birdland, the Jazz Standard, 55 Bar, the Jazz Gallery, Zebulon, Barbes, Sweet Rhythm, and Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.
Jon’s conception of complete musical inclusion in his improvisation and composition is apparent in the wide-ranging body of work he has compiled in his young career: his quintet Outright! (Innova) that embraces the complete history of jazz while wrapping it up in group improvisation, his continuous additive duo project with drummer Mike Pride “I Don’t Hear Nothin’ But the Blues” (Loyal Label), his unapologetic '80s cover band, his Sonny Rollins Tribute Trio, the straight-ahead modern jazz group Confluence (For the Artist Records) that he co-leads with fellow Manhattan School of Music graduates, the freely-improvising RIDD Quartet (Clean Feed), as well as his long-time tenure in the self-destructing bebop cyborg terrorist band Mostly Other People do the Killing (Hot Cup).