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 29, 2019 Matt La Von Quartet at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3 Mar 29, 2019
- Mar 28, 2019 Maitri at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 Mar 28, 2019
- Mar 26, 2019 Kristen Lee Sergeant CD Release Show at the Birdland Theatre Mar 26, 2019
- Mar 20, 2019 Kat Gang Quartet at the Plaza Hotel Mar 20, 2019
- Mar 16, 2019 Freddy Cole Quartet at The Broad Stage Santa Monica, CA Mar 16, 2019
- Mar 15, 2019 Freddy Cole Quartet Nat King Tribute Show San Francisco Mar 15, 2019
- Mar 6, 2019 – Mar 10, 2019 Freddy Cole Quartet at Bird's Basement Melbourne, AU Mar 6, 2019 – Mar 10, 2019
- Mar 1, 2019 – Mar 2, 2019 Freddy Cole Quartet at Blue Note Beijing Mar 1, 2019 – Mar 2, 2019
- February 2019
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: