Jonathan Parker is a saxophonist from the Washington D.C. area who now resides in Brooklyn, New York. Since graduating from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2008, he has lived and performed in cities including Shanghai, Beijing, New York City, Rochester, and Washington D.C.
A recent transplant into the fertile New York City jazz scene, saxophonist Jonathan Parker is steadily building a reputation as a versatile and skilled improviser and an exceptional composer and arranger. As both a sideman and a bandleader, Parker has synthesized a varied musical background as he makes his mark on both the local and national stages.
Since graduating from The Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2008 where he studied under jazz legend Gary Bartz, Jonathan has gone on to perform in cities across the United States and China. He relocated to Shanghai in 2008 where he lived and performed for two years. During his time in Shanghai, Jonathan became an in-demand sideman appearing at jazz and pop festivals in cities throughout China including Beijing, Hangzhou, and Hong Kong.
In 2010 The Kennedy Center, recognizing Jonathan’s talent for jazz composition and performance, accepted him into their Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program. In 2012 Jonathan was a recipient of the prestigious ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award for his original composition, Lois.
Jonathan also received a master’s degree in jazz and contemporary media from The Eastman School of Music in 2013, where his teachers included Ray Ricker, Clay Jenkins, Bill Dobbins, and Harold Danko.
In January 2015, Jonathan released his second album, Interloper, featuring his own compositions and arrangements for jazz octet. All About Jazz praised the album, stating “It’s an exciting octet date that’s chock-full of tight ensemble work and compelling solo statements. Parker utilizes all of the tone colors and rhythmic tools at his disposal here, alternately creating swinging unison statements, punchy background figures, measured support, and gorgeous chorale-like passages. Interloper is an album that shows the full depth and breadth of his talents, both as a player and writer.”
In addition to leading his own ensembles, Jonathan is an active sideman in both the New York City and Washington, D.C. music scenes, performing often with the calypso band The Harry Bells, as well as The Theodicy Jazz Collective. Jonathan’s arranging work can also be heard on several rock albums, most recently, Gainesville, Florida-based rock band Hedges’ self-titled debut album, and Washington, D.C.-based indie band The North Country’s upcoming album In Defense of Cosmic Altruism.
Jonathan is currently performing and teaching in the greater New York City area.