Der Groove, der aus der Tiefe kommt Interview im Deutschlandradio
Jon Sass was born in 1961 in New York City. He spent his early childhood with his grandmother in Virginia, returning to his family in Harlem when it was time for him to start school. At the age of 15 he began to study music with Sam Pilafian, who happened to be the neighbor of a co-student in Jon's school orchestra. He was admitted to the famous "Music and Art High School" which is now called the "Laguardia School of Performing Arts" in Harlem at the age of 16. He formed the "Sassafrass Brass Quintet" with his friends and played on the streets of New York about two or three times a week.
While admiring Howard Johnson's music and following him around and listening to his mother’s records and following the bass lines of groups like "Earth, Wind and Fire" or James Brown with his tuba, Jon continued his classical studies with Sam Pilafian. Howard Johnson, Joe Daley, Warren Deck, Bob Stuardt and Roger Bobo were among his early influences.
When Jon received his High School diploma in 1979 at the age of 18, he started touring almost immediately thereafter with the Vienna Art Orchestra in Europe. He returned to the States a month later and continued to study with Sam Pilafian at Boston University. He was awarded a scholarship and, his studies being interrupted by various European tours, received his Bachelor's Degree in 1985, a B.A. in Tuba Performance.
With the choice of continuing a blooming career in Boston and New York, Jon decided to move to Europe and join the Vienna Art Orchestra for a longer time. Once in Vienna, he teamed up with Dutch blues guitarist Hans Theessink as well as with the popular brass quintet "Art of Brass Vienna". He still continued to commute to New York to play with his now famous friends.
Until the present he has been playing with world class artists such as Ray Anderson, Boston Symphony Brass – Empire Brass, Art of Brass Vienna, Butch Morris, David Murry, Erika Stucky, Michelle Rosewoman, Leon Thomas, Gideon Kremer, Bobby Shew and many others. He also recorded with hit producer Peter Wolf. He has traveled literally all over the world with his instrument, from Brazil to Japan and from Africa to Russia, where he was able to share his rich musical heritage as an American Cultural Representative.
» I never considered myself a jazz or classical musician, but foremost an artist. «
Jon's worldview is that "all things in our universe are divinely connected, and that music has the power to heal, create positive emotions, and bring joy to the world!" With his truly unique and soulful sound, Jon's career has made a tremendous impact in the Tuba World, and in the music industry, as his style is like no other, because his grooves can be ferociously dynamic and funky.
Living in Europe – in Vienna – for many years, only increased Jon’s stylistic flexibility and his ability to feel at home with and crossover between classical music, Jazz and Avantgarde. With his early musical roots embedded in R&B, Soul, Groove, Funk and Blues, especially when it comes to his identification with singers and bass players of this type of music, Jon is best known for his distinctive sound - for example on the 4 "Heavy Tuba and Jon Sass"-recordings, to name just a few.
Lately Jon has started working on his career as a soloist. He is holding "creativity workshops" worldwide. He is truly considered to be one of the best on the tuba today. He is well known for his compositions and arrangements, such as the "James Brown Horns" and has participated in over 70 recordings.
Sassified - the new solo CD:
The combination of Jon's huge musical talent with everything that ever influenced him can be enjoyed on his new solo CD, which turned out to be a unique blend of his rich experiences in various musical formations, from duets to small tuba choirs and MUCH MORE. This is a very original CD and will definitely be milestone for his instrument! A ride on Sassified reflects Jon's early roots which go back to what we might call "the best black music ever recorded", evoking memories of James Brown, Isaac Hayes and so many others, moving to present day rap and hip hop tunes - and from there crossing effortlessly over towards an almost classical structure of music, sometimes spiced with avantgarde sounds. The result is a terrific mix of differing musical styles and timings – the longer you listen to it, the more beautiful and convincing it gets – definitely a masterpiece!