It’s a wonderful thing when jazz insiders from all over the world enthusiastically discover an intelligent, creative young talent like Jon Weber. A spectacular solo pianist, his brilliantly crafted spontaneous orchestrations easily place him in the rarefied company of today’s elite jazz musicians.
“Jon Weber is a virtuoso, pure and simple.”
The youngest of seven children, Jon’s musical passion (plus absolute pitch and recall) surfaced at age three on a toy organ. By six, he internalized 2000 standards from his Grandma’s piano rolls.
Jon’s mother recalls, “When he wasn’t riding his bike, solving math problems, or memorizing things, he was in the breezeway replaying Dr. Suess and Bugs Bunny records, changing the chords every time. He’d invent a different arrangement each time he played a tune, improvising, quoting; shuffling the deck. It was always like a game for him.”
As a teenager, Jon prodigiously scribbled musical ideas on every piece of paper available. Multiple-clef orchestrations penciled upon hundreds of envelopes, notebooks (and occasionally actual staff paper), filled his room and schoolbooks.
By age 19, Jon’s jazz quintet (all original music) had opened up for Pat Metheney, Buddy Rich, Freddie Hubbard, Angela Bofil, and Stanley Turrentine at various major summer jazz festivals.
Incredibly, Jon expanded his repertoire and developed his craft without studying piano or composition. In fact, he never saw chord symbols before joining the Mark Kleckley Big Band at 16. Perhaps the absence of musical “rules” kept Jon’s young mind open and ever creative. He spent his teen years developing counterpoint in his left hand by playing guitar (during a 2-year hiatus from piano). But ultimately realized his greatest joy was at the keyboard composing and arranging for all types of ensembles including the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
Whenever a stellar player joined me onstage (Stevie Wonder; Wynton Marsalis; Bobby McFerrin), I longed to perform with my own original ensemble again.”
“Last summer, I rediscovered manuscripts I’d written in high school and started calling every great musician I knew. ‘SIMPLE COMPLEX’ took on a life of its own very quickly.” Weber’s quintet, the surprise hit of Melbourne’s January 2003 International Jazz Fest, inspired this review by “The Age” newspaper;
“The tunes are mind-bendingly complex with overlapping time signatures, accent shifts, and rhythmic feels that swerve from Cuban montunos to Indian tabla patterns to straight-ahead jazz at the blink of an eye. Weber spiked his challenging charts with infectious latin grooves while fellow musicians rode the odd-metered passages with unflappable poise.” – THE AGE – Melbourne, AU.
“SIMPLE COMPLEX,” released in January 2004 (2ndCenturyJazz Records), features Jon on piano, drummer Mark Walker, tenor sax master Eric Alexander, trumpeters Diego Urcola and Roy Hargrove, bassists Avishai Cohen, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, and Peter Washington, plus vibraphonist Gary Burton. “How lucky can a guy get?!” adds Jon. “World-class players – each giving a 100th percentile performance.”
UK’s Jazz Journal International writes; “Jon Weber is a virtuoso pianist with outstanding technique plus boundless imagination and enthusiasm who is bound to make a big impression on the international jazz scene.”
CNN, CNBC, Black Entertainment TV, Bravo/Arts, National Public Radio, and Voice of America have profiled Jon Weber’s unique musical depth and vast knowledge of his craft. NPR’s 1997 Holiday CD includes 2 excellent tracks by Jon.
After a compelling appearance on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz, Warner Bros. commissioned Jon (Mr. Perfect Pitch) to transcribe “Portraits” a book containing 23 of Marian’s improvised piano solo compositions.
Live recordings under Jon’s name, Flying Keys, are available from prestigious Swiss label Jazz Connaisseur.
A new solo release, “Feather in the Breeze,” will follow up his successful and acclaimed November 2003 Swiss tour.
More releases are en route from Jon’s numerous European sessions.
Critically acclaimed American studio CD, Jazz Wagon (IMI Records) is available through this website.
At the request of composers Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, Jon recorded a 2-CD tribute, It’s Never Quite the Same (Mood Records). “I am most flattered by your wonderful CD!” says Ray Evans. “You play my tunes the best!” adds Jay Livingston.
Violin virtuoso, Dr. L. Subramaniam flew Jon and Corky Siegel to Bangalore, India to appear in a series of concerts and recordings.
He’s even been declared “Man of the Day” by the Icelandic government.
Performing a worldwide simulcast of his septet’s Gershwin Centennial Concert in Estonia, Jon’s ensemble won 2nd place in that fest’s international composer/arranger competition.
Weber’s quickly becoming a favorite at New York’s 92nd Street “Y” jazz series, performing piano duos with Dick Hyman, the late Sir Roland Hanna, Cyrus Chestnut, and Bill Charlap. Jon Weber, a true original, is rapidly emerging as a youthful, singular personality in jazz.