Ascending – the new album by the Jan Prax Quartet. As with the previous production Keepin’ a Style Alive (ACT), this recording focuses on the acoustic jazz quartet with outstanding partners such as Martin Sörös (piano & Fender Rhodes, composition), Tilman Oberbeck (double bass) and Michael Mischl (drums), this time with a line-up extended by high profile guests Bodek Janke (tabla & percussion) and Soweto Kinch (rap & alto saxophone).
Jan Prax is an award-winning saxophonist, composer, pianist and band leader.
Born in Karlsruhe in 1992 he began his musical education at the age of three at the piano, winning numerous prizes as a classical pianist. During his youth his interest in jazz saxophone grew rapidly. Soon he was awarded the grant for highly talented students of the Badisches Konservatorium. He studied under Laszlo Wolpert, Peter Lehel and gained his bachelor's degree with honours under professor Klaus Graf. In the beginning of 2019 he received his master's degree at the University of the Performing Arts Munich.
In 2012 he was awarded a scholarship by the Berklee College of Music in Boston and won the future sounds prize of the Leverkusener Jazztage with his quartet, the most important jazz prize for musicians under 35. The Jan Prax Quartet also won the Stuttgart Jazz Open-Playground as well as the nationwide Jazznachwuchsfestival Leipzig.
In 2013 Jan Prax played as an opener for Diana Krall at the Stuttgart Jazz Open and for David Sanborn, Steve Gadd and Cindy Blackman Santana at the Leverkusener Jazztage; he served as a supporting act for Klaus Doldinger's Passport. Outside of Europe, his tours brought him to the USA and Northern Africa.
In 2014 Klaus Doldinger presented the Sparda Jazz Award to the Jan Prax Quartet, and the Quartet also won the Czech Jazz Contest in Prague. The following year Jan was invited to be a jury member for the Czech Jazz Contest. Since the summer term of 2014 Jan has held a fellowship from the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes.
At the same time he signed a record deal with the renowned jazz label ACT Music. The debut album Keepin' A Style Alive, which has been nominated for the German record critics’ prize and which was included in the "TOP 20 - Best Jazz Albums of 2015" by UK Vibe Magazine, was released in March 2015.
In early 2015 the Jan Prax Quartet was awarded third prize of the Made in New York Jazz Competition by a jury composed of Joe Lovano, Lenny White, and Randy Brecker.
In 2016 Jan Prax was invited by David Sanborn to perform with him and his group and he also joined the quintet of renowned double bassist Riccardo Del Fra.
In 2017 Jan was invited to join the Sideguys Project in New York City, consisting of some of the best musicians in the world, such as legendary drummer Gene Lake, Richard Patterson and Nicky Moroch.
Jan Prax has played with David Sanborn, Randy Brecker, Gene Lake, Riccardo del Fra, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Klaus Doldinger, Chris Coleman, Alex Blake, Peter Weniger, Ricky Peterson, Soweto Kinch, Nicky Moroch, Judy Niemack, Bobby Sanabria, Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Sunday Night Orchestra, Geoffroy de Masure, Klaus Graf, Dré Pallemaerts, Bodek Janke, Olaf Polziehn, Julian and Roman Wasserfuhr and others.
"Hardly anyone in Germany plays Hard Bop like Jan Prax.“ Jazzthing, Jan Paersch
"…a rising star of the German jazz scene." – Prague Post
"The eloquence with which Prax modulates on the alto and soprano saxophone is astonishing. […] the change between clarity and complexity, of rounded notes to ridiculously fast phrasing seems effortless." – Frankfurter Allgemeine
"Dizzying virtuosity" – Die Welt
"… has what it takes to become the new star of the German jazz scene." – Südkurier
"… he plays the alto saxophone like hell…" – Hamburger Abendblatt
"… four world-class musicians…"
"… an energetic first-class ‘furiosum" – Augsburger Allgemeine
"… Jan is so on fire, is so dynamic (…) that one is reminded of Chris Potter. He shapes coherent bows and seems to always seek the un-heard, a variant, something he has not said before…" – BNN Karlsruhe
"… unbridled, driving force, energy and joy…" – Leverkusener Jazztage
"… everybody is excited: no surprise when listening to the intensity of the fabulous, versatile saxophonist Jan Prax…" – Bayerische Staatszeitung
"Jan Prax […] has impressed me by his incredible talent and his strong will. I expect great things." – Peter Lehel // HfMKarlsruhe
"He is the biggest discovery in the German jazz saxophone scene of the last years!" – Klaus Graf // HfM Nürnberg
"intense and powerful" – Haller Tagblatt – Südwest Presse
"intense, wild and timeless" – Hohenlohe Tagblatt – SüdwestPresse
"The Jan Prax Quartet really are "Keepin' A Style Alive"" – UK Vibe