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Saxophonist, Composer, Educator


"...If anything, Saltzman's compositions are all about confronting hidden intentions with blatant honesty. Honesty must be the best policy, because Hidden Intentions is as honest as you're ever going to find. In an age where integrity usually runs second to marketability, Jim Saltzman takes the road less traveled. And that makes all the difference.” - J Hunter, All About Jazz. 


Armed with a rich harmonic palette, colorful and commanding sound, and diverse compositions, saxophonist, flutist, clarinetist, composer, and educator Jim Saltzman has been quietly developing his creative voice in the greater New York City jazz community for over eighteen years. Hailed by the Boston Globe as a "postmodern jazz saxophonist” that “plays with passion and intensity” and All Music as a “force to be reckoned with”, Saltzman is ready and determined to document the next journey in his creative process. Over the course of his musical journey, Saltzman has performed with musicians such as George Coleman, James Moody, Eddie Gomez, Jon Faddis, and many others, as well as various jazz clubs throughout NJ and NYC, including The Blue Note, Smalls, Cecil's, Shanghai Jazz and many others.  His daily interactions with his colleagues in the jazz community today are inspiring, exciting, influential, and have provided him with some of his favorite experiences.


As a composer, Saltzman loves to explore the possibilities of color within the large jazz ensemble. Despite being extraordinarily color blind, he views the orchestration colors created while composing to be a vital element of his music. Often times cinematic, he strives to write thought provoking music that shows respect for the jazz tradition, but simultaneously looking to create honest, sincere music for large jazz ensembles. Jim was a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop from 2009-2011, and was awarded the 2011 BMI Foundation Charlie Parker Composition Prize for his composition, “Road To Zion”.  His Manny Albam Commission work "Multiple Personality Disorder" was premiered at the 24th annual BMI Jazz Composers Workshop concert.  His most recent CD of original compositions, “Hidden Intentions” was released in April 2007 on Jazz Excursion Records. “Hidden Intentions” was chosen as one of the “Top Ten Jazz CD’s of 2007” by the Boston Globe, and was also listed in the “Critics Picks, Top Jazz CD’s of 2007” by Jazz Times. Jim has also recorded two additional CD’s, “Along the Way” (2000), and “Aggregate” (2003).


As an emerging scholar, Jim has done extensive research in the field of jazz history. His doctoral research is on the influence of Maurice Ravel’s Valse Nobles et Sentimentales on jazz composer, Billy Strayhorn. His substantial masters thesis, “Stylistic Aspects in the Improvisations of Tenor Saxophonist Warne Marsh”, examines the relationship between Warne Marsh, Lee Konitz, and Lennie Tristano. Jim was the music curator for Fascinating Rhythms: Music of the Jazz Age for the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum’s The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s exhibition (April 7 - August 20, 2017).


A passionate and dedicated educator, Jim believes that it is vital for musicians to continue the tradition while simultaneously looking forward towards the future. He is currently a Jazz Arts faculty member at Manhattan School of Music (in the Precollege, undergraduate, and graduate divisions). For more detailed information on Jim’s teaching, please click here. The next transformation in Jim’s music will be documented on a new recording in 2023. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, two children, and dog. Jim graduated with honors with a B.M. in Jazz and Commercial Music (Performance) from the University of the Arts in 2000, a M.M. in Jazz Studies (Performance) from William Paterson University in 2002, and a DMA in Jazz Arts Advancement in 2018 from Manhattan School of Music. When not performing, composing, practicing, or teaching music, he can be found long distance running, hiking in the woods, and saving seeds for his vegetable garden.


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