Born in Grand Rapids, MI, Jay Sawyer is one of the most in-demand rising star drummers in New York City. He has shared the stage with artists such as Freddy Cole, John McNeil, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Stefon Harris, Donny McCaslin, Benito Gonzalez, and Shai Maestro among others. Jay is also a first call drummer for many up-and-coming musicians in New York including Itamar Borochov, Caroline Davis, Tomoko Omura, John Raymond and many more. He has toured extensively in the USA and Europe, including performances at the Montreal, Detroit and Chicago Jazz Festivals, Festival Eclats d’Email in Limoges, France and more.
While attending Western Michigan University and the University of Illinois, respectively, Jay studied with some of the most well-respected jazz drummers including Billy Hart, Tim Froncek, Keith Hall and Dana Hall. Each nurtured his passion and skill for the art of jazz drums. As a result, Jay has become a passionate and gifted educator, both as a private lesson teacher as well as in a group setting.
recent recordings & Videos
Drum Solo w/Caroline Davis Quartet. Cornelia Street Cafe (New York, NY)
"Top 'N' Bottom" w/Tuomo Uusitalo Trio. Smalls Jazz Club (New York, NY)
Drum Solo w/Benito Gonzalez Trio. Twins Jazz Club (Washington, D.C.)
- Mar 30, 2018 – Mar 31, 2018 Freddy Cole Quartet at Blue Note Napa Mar 30, 2018 – Mar 31, 2018
- Mar 24, 2018 Caroline Davis Quintet at the Jazz Standard Mar 24, 2018
- Mar 23, 2018 – Mar 24, 2018 George Gee's Swing Orchestra at Swing 46 Jazz and Supper Club Mar 23, 2018 – Mar 24, 2018
- Mar 23, 2018 Nick Brust Quartet at Cornelia St Cafe Mar 23, 2018
- Mar 16, 2018 – Mar 18, 2018 Freddy Cole Quartet at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola Mar 16, 2018 – Mar 18, 2018
- Mar 6, 2018 – Mar 16, 2018 European Tour with Itamar Borochov! Mar 6, 2018 – Mar 16, 2018
- Mar 3, 2018 – Mar 4, 2018 Glenn Zalezski Trio at the Cell Theatre Mar 3, 2018 – Mar 4, 2018
- Mar 1, 2018 Jazz at Kitano Hotel w/ John Dokes Quintet Mar 1, 2018
- Feb 19, 2018 – Feb 26, 2018 Maitri Midwest Tour! Feb 19, 2018 – Feb 26, 2018
- Feb 17, 2018 Yonatan Voltzok Group feat. Slide Hampton at Smalls Jazz Club Feb 17, 2018
- Feb 8, 2018 Itamar Borochov Quartet at Smalls Jazz Club Feb 8, 2018
- Jan 31, 2018 Kat Gang Quartet at the Plaza Hotel Jan 31, 2018
Jay is a world-class music educator, and has taught students around the world both privately and at workshops and camps. He has the rare ability to convey difficult concepts in a simple way, and he is equally adept at reaching the beginning student as he is at challenging the most advanced. He has taught students from the ages of 3-83, and for every student he interacts with his teaching philosophy revolves around two primary goals:
1. To instill in students a passion for learning, and specifically a passion for music.
2. To empower students with the necessary mental & physical skills to be able to teach themselves, making them confident and ready to take on any musical situation.
Jay is available to teach private lessons, workshops/residencies, master classes or to work with large and smalls ensembles. Please contact him here if interested.
For bookings, inquiries about lessons or other teaching opportunities, as well as more info: