Pianist, composer-arranger, and bandleader Jonathan Katz has worked with jazz legends Ray Brown, Kenny Burrell, Tom Harrell, Eddie Henderson, Lew Tabackin, as well as the NHK Symphony and Tokyo Philharmonic, enka superstar Itsuki Hiroshi, and bossa nova songstress Lisa Ono. He works in various genres, including jazz, world music, and Afro-Cuban, and leads Tokyo Big Band, a 19-piece ensemble of top Tokyo-area musicians for which he has written over 60 arrangements. Jonathan is also an avid educator who gives clinics at universities and high schools in Japan, the US and Taiwan.
On Jonathan’s solo piano album, East Meadow:
The 13 solo piano gems on this album copiously reveal Katz’s charming lyrical side, which differs from his group playing, and his prodigious ability as an arranger. A truly spirited solo piano album that matches the cover photo taken by his brother Alan.
(Masayuki Kase, The Walker’s)
On Tokyo Big Band's album, SAKURA:
Jonathan Katz is a world-class arranger and pianist. SAKURA is a masterful re-working of Japanese children’s songs that crosses over to all listeners and tells the story and feelings of a culture. A wonderful musical journey, congratulations to Jonathan and The Tokyo Big Band!
Marshall McDonald, lead alto sax, Count Basie Orchestra
What an excellent achievement to make these Ministry of Education school songs that we loved as kids swing so hard! These songs are a legacy from the Showa era and the fresh arrangements will move anyone who hears them.
Nobuo Hara, saxophonist, leader of the Sharps & Flats
Beautiful, lush arrangements of traditional Japanese folk songs played with high class professionalism. A real pleasure to listen to such fresh interpretation of Japanese songs.
Eddie Henderson, trumpeter
Who knew that Japanese folk songs could swing this much? Jonathan Katz and the Tokyo Big Band have done a fantastic job of putting a new spin on some beautiful old Japanese classics. Great arrangements; Great playing; and Great soloing. A wonderful recording.
Dave Pietro, lead alto sax, Maria Schneider Orchestra
Jonathan Katz has done a wonderful job of creatively reimagining these Japanese songs for his fine Tokyo Big Band. Tunes are reworked without losing their basic charm, with many fine solos interspersed, adding personal dimension. Kudos to Jonathan and the band for this special creation.
Lew Tabackin, tenor saxophonist/flutist