"A Weighty set of works held together by a thematic purpose" SOmething Else! REviews - Best of 2017


Jonathan Rowden (tenor & soprano saxophones, electronics, voice)

Ryan Pryor (piano, rhodes, synths, toys, voice)

James Yoshizawa (drums, percussion, rhodes, voice)

Jordan Richards (basses, Martin backpacker guitar)

MAKING SKYWARD EYE | EPISODE 1: world building - music, games and the great escape

In this episode, critically-acclaimed American saxophonist, composer and producer Jonathan Rowden discusses his early inspiration in 1990's roleplaying games, creating transformative music, and the ever-expanding universe of Skyward Eye. 

"Every song might be a different continent that you travel to in some airship...or every melody is a different character..."

"The emotion of the music, the story of the music, the moral of the music...all of those things have weight. And I think good music has a lot of weight." - Rowden


Making Skyward eye | episode 3: Exploring Soundscapes

In this episode, multi-instrumentalist and conceptual drummer James Yoshizawa reveals secrets behind the "big drum sounds" on Skyward Eye, exploring textures and timbres to create epic soundscapes, and how a scoring-session style of recording can break the chains of "trying to sound great".

"The scope [of Skyward Eye] feels almost more like a movie soundtrack...which gives you a lot of freedom to explore different textures." -Yoshizawa

Making Skyward eye | episode 2: composition and the art of letting go

In this episode, ingenious composer and piano-virtuoso Ryan Pryor discusses personal composition, innocence, and letting go of hipness and coolness in the search for musical freedom. "I think we compose everything with the best intentions of each member of the band in mind."

"We're being unafraid to let go of being hip or cool or anything like that...we're tapping into that stuff you feel as a kid..." - Pryor


In this episode, New York Times Best-Selling Graphic Novelist and Artist Kazu Kibuishi reveals in an exclusive interview, his inspiration behind the creation of the original artwork of Skyward Eye, his creative process, and how creating albums and graphic novels go hand-in-hand.

"...the way in which a songwriter would write their songs out of order...I do the same thing with Amulet: there is about 14 songs in each of the books."

"Skyward Eye is 'flights of fantasy'." - Kibuishi

Making Skyward eye | episode 4: Visual music

In this episode, Producer, engineer and master concert film maker (Syncopated Ladies, Kurt Elling, Kneebody) Alex Chaloff discusses what he calls "visual music", working on Skyward Eye and what listeners can expect from the Jonathan Rowden Group's progressive approach to album-making.

"If I'm seeing nothing, it means the music's dead"

"These aren't one or two minute solos where we're 'taking you you somewhere', we're REALLY taking you somewhere." - Chaloff