JONAH PARZEN-JOHNSON ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM “IMAGINE GIVING UP” DUE 1/17/20 VIA WE JAZZ RECORDS
SHARES FIRST SINGLE “STAND STILL“
FURTHER DEVELOPS HIS SIGNATURE TECHNIQUE COMBINING BARITONE SAXOPHONE MELODIES AND SYNTH EXPLORATIONS
Brooklyn based baritone saxophonist and electronic musician, Jonah Parzen-Johnson is excited to announce his fourth album, Imagine Giving Up, due January 17 2020 via We Jazz Records. Jonah combines distilled melodies on baritone saxophone with hardware synths and samplers that he manipulates live with his feet. Using circular breathing and extended saxophone techniques he creates music that is both sonically experimental and musically familiar. The album’s debut single “Stand Still” is out now — stream HERE. Jonah is currently on tour in Europe, with U.S. dates to be announced soon. See below for all currently announced tour dates, and pre-order Imagine Giving Up HERE.
“Helping isn’t leading,” Parzen-Johnson says. “For my entire life, I’ve always felt heard. It’s more effort for me to listen than it is to take control and speak. I could stand still and let other people have a chance at what I’ve always had. Helping isn’t demanding others lead me. For my whole life, I’ve always felt seen, and when I’m listening it’s because someone is usually speaking directly to me. I could stand still and listen, even as I remember this is not about me.
“Helping isn’t getting out of the way either. Things don’t just work themselves out. Every day, there are new ways each of our strengths and advantages could be used to help build something bigger than any one voice. If I can find a way to commit myself, to listen without demanding attention, and work without expecting celebration, I can find a way to be helpful.”
Imagine Giving Up sees Parzen-Johnson move into new domains of sound as he uncovers newfound energy and pulse in his music. In addition to the sonically rich analog synth elements that accompany his earlier solo saxophone work, Jonah has layered heavily sound designed samples of his own saxophone to create truly one of a kind percussive snaps, reverberant basses, and warbling leads. At its core, the music remains deeply devoted to almost vocal sounding melodic lines and patiently developed compositional ideas.
A compact set of 6 originals, “Imagine Giving Up” is Jonah Parzen-Johnson’s most ambitious album yet. While taking a step away from the previous world of “ambient jazz”, his new music stems from the use of drone-like sounds for baritone saxophone, a style which is uniquely his own. Electronics are blended in for good measure, creating a coherent vision of abstract jazz with depth.
As with all of Parzen-Johnson’s releases, the music comes with a deeper narrative which he will continually explore in live performance. The manifesto for the album reads as follows:
“Only a few people can really start over. Everyone else is left to struggle down the path they were assigned. The option to give up, to choose your own path, is power, and, hopefully, a call to action: take a risk to help someone.”
Jonah Parzen-Johnson makes music that challenges listeners with experimental electronic textures and embraces them with warm approachable melodies. His solo performances are a deeply intimate experience, as he endeavors to share who he is, how he see’s our world, and the temporary moments of community that we can all embrace together. In his hands baritone saxophone and hardware electronics become a vehicle for “de facto folk songs,” (Bandcamp Daily) as if he is, “constructing a whole musical town from specific, character-driven notes”.
Since 2015, Jonah has toured over 40 thousand miles, by himself. He has performed on 4 continents, and in 9 countries. Everywhere from Jazz festivals to DIY noise clubs, living rooms to Contemporary Art museums. In July 2017, he released his third full length solo album, I Try To Remember Where I Come From. The release has been described as, “haunted by abstraction but guided by a compassionate pulse,” (New York Times), as it, “vividly channels free-jazz with elements of improvisation and composition, combining to create a sustained meditative mood, transporting listeners to another world.” (Downbeat Magazine).
In June 2019 he followed up the release with his first live recording, “Helsinki 8.12.18”, an exciting preview of the music to come on his upcoming album LP, Imagine Giving Up, out January 2020 on We Jazz Records. Jonah is a long-time Brooklyn resident, but his circular breathing, multi-phonics and inclusively experimental style owe a debt to Chicago, the city where he was raised. His devotion to an almost vocal approach places him in new territory for the instrument. Paired with a one-of-a-kind compositional style that utilizes analog synths, and hardware samplers & sequencers, Jonah continues to find himself ready to share his own unique musical world.
1. Find The Feeling
2. Focus Re-Focus
3. Everything Is Everything Else
5. The Smile When You Fall
6. Stand Still
Jonah Parzen-Johnson, Baritone Saxophone & Hardware Electronics
Composed by Jonah Parzen-Johnson
Produced by Jonah Parzen-Johnson & Matti Nives
Recorded & Mixed by Aaron Nevezie at The Bunker
Mastered by Alex DeTurk at Strange Weather & The Bunker
Design by Matti Nives