Following the disastrous consequences of Britain’s 2016 BREXIT referendum vote saxophonist, composer and arranger Joshua Jaswon took the decision to leave London for Berlin and set about establishing himself in Europe’s creative hub and heartbeat. This journey of musical discovery has led to a diverse output of solo, ensemble and arranging work and the formation of the Joshua Jaswon Octet.
Featuring a broad cross-section of exceptional young musicians from Europe’s leading jazz scenes, the Octet released its debut album Silent Sea in October 2020, which was selected by BBC Music as one of the best jazz recordings of 2020/21 and received 4 and 5 star reviews across the UK and international media.
Using powerful poems of protest as the basis for its music, the ensemble has been broadcast across the BBC, Jazz FM and Worldwide FM; selected for best track and best album of the year polls in Jazzwise and by Worldwide FM Dj’s; and featured in Spotify Editorial Playlists including Jazz X-Press, Jazz Today, Swinging Singing and Destination: Jazz.
Following this debut release and successful tours in Germany (Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Hanover) and the UK (Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford and London) the Octet has recorded its second album Polar Waters, which will be released with Ubuntu Music in June 2023 and backed-up by an Autumn 2023 tour. This recording has been generously supported by the Berlin Senat for Culture and Neu Start Kultur.
Alongside Joshua’s contemporary jazz exploits, he is also busy with orchestral and large ensemble playing. Recent highlights have included projects with the Mecklenburgische Staatskapelle Schwerin, Stewart Copeland and Troy Miller, the LPO Wind Orchestra of Brandenburg, Jazzorchester Neue Welt, City of London Festival Orchestra, London Southbank Sinfonia and the Big Band du Conservatoire de Paris. Joshua is currently preparing to record the John Williams saxophone concerto with the Deutsche Filmorchester Babelsberg.
Having grown up in London Joshua graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with a 1st class honours degree in Jazz Performance. While only in his second year he led the winning group in the Chartered Surveyors Jazz Ensemble Competition and on completing his degree was awarded a two-year Artists Fellowship at the conservatoire. Later he would go on to win a fully-funded place on the highly prestigious European Jazz Masters Course at the Jazz-Institut Berlin.
As a bandleader and sideman Joshua has made appearances in the London Jazz Festival, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, City of London Festival, Berlin Instrument of the Year Festival, performed at venues such as Ronnie Scotts, LSO St. Luke’s, Kings Place, The Vortex, The Elgar Room, Kunstfabrik Schlot Berlin, Brorson’s Kirken Copenhagen, Dokkhuset Trondheim, Nikolaisaal Potsdam, Berlin Philharmonie, La Gare Paris, and the Barbican Theatre; has been extensively broadcast and led educational workshops.
“With his career seemingly pre-ordained by his name, Jaswon is a young alto saxophonist of rare thoughtfulness and poise…makes all the right choices about when to turn up the heat and when to stay cool.”