Jan Prax is an award-winning saxophonist, composer, pianist and band leader.
Born in Karlsruhe, Germany 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 received the scholarship for highly gifted students from the Baden Conservatory. He then studied Jazz saxophone and completed his bachelor's degree with distinction from Professor Klaus Graf. At the beginning of 2019 he received his master's degree at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich.
2012 he was awarded with a scholarship of the Berklee College of Music in Boston and won the future sounds prize of the Leverkusener Jazztage with his quartet, one of the most important jazz prizes for musicians younger than 35. The Jan Prax Quartet also won the Stuttgart Jazz Open Playground as well as the nationwide Jazznachwuchsfestival Leipzig.
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 further played as a supporting act for Klaus Doldinger's Passport.
Apart from Europe his tours brought him to the USA, Asia and Northern Africa.
In 2014 the Jan Prax Quartet won the Sparda Jazz Award and the Czech Jazz Contest in Prague. Since the summer term 2014 Jan is a fellowship holder of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. At the same time he signed a record deal with the renowned Jazz label ACT Music. His first official album Keepin’ A Style Alive - which has been nominated for the Prize of the German Record Critics and was included in the "TOP 20 - Best Jazz Albums of 2015" by UK Vibe Magazine - was released on the 27th March 2015.
In the beginning of 2015 the Jan Prax Quartet was awarded the 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, who is one of the most prominent figures on the European Jazz scene. Jan is also playing on Riccardo's current CD Moving People (Cristal, Sony) which features Kurt Rosenwinkel and Jason Brown among others.
The second album of the Jan Prax Quartet Ascending (Challenge Records) was released worldwide in April of 2018. It features guest artists like Soweto Kinch and Bodek Janke and received raving reviews.
In the beginning of 2019 Jan was awarded with a scholarship by the Arts Foundation Baden-Württemberg.
Following a recommendation from David Sanborn, Jan has been working on a project together with legendary US drummer and producer Gene Lake since 2018. The music that resulted in this collaboration is going to be released as an album in October 2021 on Double Moon Records. It features world-class musicians such as Federico Gonzalez Peña, Ricky Peterson, Nicky Moroch and others.
Jan Prax has already played with David Sanborn, Gene Lake, Riccardo del Fra, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Randy Brecker, Chris Coleman, Klaus Doldinger, Wawau Adler, Alex Blake, Ricky Peterson, Klaus Graf, Bobby Sanabria, Olaf Polziehn, Julian and Roman Wasserfuhr, Nicky Moroch, Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Sunday Night Orchestra and others.
"…a rising star of the German jazz scene."
– Prague Post
"Hardly anyone in Germany plays Hard Bop like Jan Prax."
- Jazzthing, Jan Paersch
"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
– Die Welt
"… has what it takes to become the new star of the German jazz scene."
"… he plays the alto saxophone like hell…"
– Hamburger Abendblatt
"… 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