Jonathan Rowden Group is a new instrumental quartet that smashes through traditional dichotomies between form and freedom. At the core of their ethos is a honed interplay between structured composition and free improvisation that is a tumultuous balance between fever pitched madness, tender spiritual softness, the absurd, and the profound. Their eclectic synthesis of styles and forms spans the emotional gamut from serene calmness to brutalizing intensity, and has quickly deemed them to be among Los Angeles’ most distinctive, cohesive, and original new voices.
Jonathan Rowden - saxophones
Ryan Pryor - piano/rhodes
Chris Hon - acoustic bass
James Yoshizawa - drum set, percussion (including for this project: bodhran, irish bones, pandeiro)
"The past year or so has been totally transformative for me - not only in music, but in life. Every day I find myself sifting through a bombardment of facebook posts, tweets, and other "news" that attempt to sway my allegiances into one ideological extreme or the next. All unapologetically, and often brazenly worded. In the end, it’s become very clear to me that the deeper, simpler life exists beyond the thick black lines drawn in the sand by social media posts and meme generators. This project is reflective of my personal desire for a more natural way of living - of walking life in a way that balances our individuality with our need for community, and the mysterious space between form and freedom. Stylistically the music on this album represents a summation of the sounds we love and the experiences we've had in many different types of music.
I’m joined by three of the most creative, gifted, and adventurous musicians that I know.
James Yoshizawa - an incredibly gifted and imaginative drummer and percussionist. A distinctive drumset voice, and expert at many instruments from around the globe including Japanese taiko drum, Irish bones, bodhran, and pandeiro. Endless ability to orchestrate, adapt, and assert.
Ryan Pryor - a virtuosic pianist, incredible composer (who contributed about half of the material for this project), and mad musical scientist. Endless capacity for conversation.
Chris Hon - a bassist with huge ears, ridiculous facility, and the ability to connect instantly with complex rhythmic and harmonic ideas. Endless imagination.
The driving themes behind this project are honesty and trust. In it’s essence, we are trying to take an honest approach to this music through natural sounding melodies and organic, cohesive group improvisations. Throughout this process, we’ve discovered that this takes a great deal of trust and vulnerable communication — but the result is music that is from the heart, that constantly surprises us, and is always evolving into something new. We hope you enjoy it!”
— Jonathan Rowden