Jonathan Rowden is a name to watch as a signature voice and self-motivated organizer on the Los Angeles jazz scene.
— Joe Woodard, Downbeat Magazine June 2016
The man is a musical juggernaut!
— Anthony Marks LA Music Blog

American saxophonist, composer and producer JONATHAN ROWDEN was born in Los Angeles, CA and raised along the west coast from Seattle to Orange County. His quartet's debut in 2013 with the EP "Live At Vitellos" quickly garnered him a reputation as one of the foremost younger creative-music artists in the diverse LA jazz and creative-music scene. Since then he has established himself as one of the "singular voice[s]" and a name to watch in the national jazz/creative-music community. His melodic lyricism, rhythmic acuity, and a fiery passion for group improvisation takes listeners on a journey beyond listening, and to more deeply engaging in the moment. Named in 2016 by the industry-defining Downbeat Magazine as "a name to watch as a signature voice on the Los Angeles jazz scene" and described by LA Music Blog as "a musical juggernaut" Rowden's unique voice and penchant for combining driving, melodic-minded composition with free improvisation creates page-turning musical soundscapes. His sophomore album Skyward Eye" was released on February 17, 2017 with Orenda Records, along with the mini-documentary "Making Skyward Eye". His debut full-length LP 'Becoming' released in 2014 solidified his reputation as a national contender in the creative music scene at large, amassing praise from critics both local and abroad such as Downbeat Magazine and AAJ (All About Jazz).

THE JONATHAN ROWDEN GROUP is an instrumental quartet at whose aesthetic core is a honed interplay between structured, original composition and free improvisation that rides a tumultuous continuum from serene, spiritual calmness to brutalizing intensity, and has quickly elevated them to be among Los Angeles’ most distinctive, cohesive, and original new voices. His debut album featuring the Jonathan Rowden Group "BECOMING" was released (LP, CD, mp3) on the Los Angeles-based boutique label Orenda Records on May 27th, 2014 and is receiving acclaim from listeners and critics alike. Downbeat Magazine reviewed it, giving 3 Stars for Becoming stating: "[it] is a mix of unabashed emotionality, compositional breadth and occasional flights of free-ish fancy...is more than the sum of a series of unconnected parts, but rather plays out like a suite-minded structural grand plan...adding up to an intriguing introductory mission statement from a West Coaster with something fresh to say and play."  

Rowden is also the creator and founder of WYR, a collaborative, improvisational trio with drummer-percussionists Chris Wabich and James Yoshizawa. The group blends electronic-effects with acoustic world percussion and live sampling to create a sonic experience that is unique to itself and defies traditional genre-classification. WYR frequently collaborates with other artists in unconventional instrumentations. Most recently, they collaborated with acclaimed vocalists Areni Agbabian (lead singer of the Tigran Hamasyan Quintet) and Joanna Wallfisch (recent Sunnyside artist) in a live-filming project entitled Terranigma. The concert film was recorded and produced by Alex Chaloff at the Blue Whale on September 15th 2015, and released on January 8th, 2016.

Education continues to be an important component of Rowden's career - he is a former adjunct professor of music at MTSAC (Mount San Antonio Community College) and is currently an adjunct at CBU (California Baptist University) in Riverside, California and Cerritos College in Norwalk, CA. As a masterclass clinician regularly gives clinics and workshops at colleges, universities and high schools. Rowden also founded Tear It Down, as nonprofit organization for the development and presentation of creative-music artists in Los Angeles & Orange County now co-run by himself and June Pai. TiD presents curated, satellite concerts for southern California's most interesting up-and-coming artists.

more QUOTES


What can I say? The man is a musical juggernaut. The most colorful and intriguing musicians hang around this dude, and I don’t blame them.
— Anthony Marks, LA Music Blog
[Rowden] adds his own expertise on extended saxophone techniques to create an aural experience which transcends the conventional to a place of abstract emotion and meaning.
— Gary Fukushima, LA Weekly
Los Angeles-based saxophonist and bandleader Jonathan Rowden is making some notable noise as a worthy player and conceptualist...a West Coaster with something fresh to say and play.
— Josef Woodard, Downbeat Magazine
When Rowden [expresses] himself on tenor, it’s a purposeful, streaming outflow of notes with the tone of Ben Webster but the composed passion of Joe Henderson
— S. Victor Aaron, Something Else! Reviews
The Los Angeles jazz scene has no shortage of prodigious talent; tenor saxophonist Jonathan Rowden definitely belongs to this society.
— Paul Naser, All About Jazz