Jon Boutellier is a French saxophonist, composer and arranger – an integral part of this young European generation of musicians who keep the legacy of straight ahead jazz passionately alive, one foot firmly set in the tradition and another looking toward the future. 

Born in 1986, Jon grew up surrounded by the atmosphere of the Jazz à Vienne festival created by his father Jean-Paul : musicians would often come by the house, and he naturally started to learn saxophone at age 6. After a few years at the conservatories of Lyon and Lausanne, Jon furthered his studies at the Paris Conservatory in 2008, where he graduated with a triple diploma in Jazz, Film Scoring and Pedagogy. 

During his studies, he developed a keen interest in writing for large ensembles. With his fellow students, pianist Fred Nardin, trombonist Bastien Ballaz and trumpeter David Enhco, he founded in 2011 the Keystone Big Band, a 17 piece jazz orchestra for which he writes, arranges and performs. With 10 albums, hundreds of concerts in France in distinguished venues (Marciac, Salle Pleyel, Olympia, Philharmonie de Paris), and some prestigious collaborations (working with Quincy Jones, Cécile McLorin Salvant or Zaz), the band gained great recognition in the French scene, and was honored with a Académie du Jazz award in 2013, and a Victoire du Jazz in 2018. With the shows about Peter and the Wolf, the Carnival of the Animals or the life of Django Reinhardt, the band had in mind jazz accessibility, willing to make their young listeners hear jazz and big band music for the first time. 

© Keystone Big Band

Jon’s first album Watt’s (with Fred Nardin and Grammy recipient Cécile McLorin) was released in 2016 (Gaya Music), and was welcomed enthusiastically by French critics: the album earned reviews in magazines Jazz Mag, Jazz News, Le Monde, and aired on national public radio France Musique and TSF Jazz. Jon also arranged in 2016 the octet album of pianist Laurent Courthaliac All my Life, which received the Best album of the year award by the Académie du Jazz. 

His new album called On Both Sides of the Atlantic features the great Kirk Lightsey on piano, Alex Claffy on bass, Kyle Poole on drums, Jean-Paul Estievenart and the new great voice of France Célia Kaméni.

© Pauline Pénicaud

Since 2014, Jon hosts the Saturday’s after hours at the Duc des Lombards, Paris’ iconic jazz club, and a must venue for any jazz artist.

Jon is a Warner music, Verve, Nome, Gaya and Jazz & People recording artist.

© Pauline Pénicaud

Jon played, worked or recorded with: Cécile McLorin Salvant, Quincy Jones, John Clayton, Thomas Dutronc, Zaz, Christophe Willem, Charles Aznavour, Stochelo Rosenberg, Kirk Lightsey, Franck Amsallem, Fred Nardin, Hugo Lippi, Fabien Mary, Dmitri Baevsky, JC Stylles, Byron Landham, Éric Legnini, Madeleine Peyroux, Mélanie JB Charles, China Moses, Sarah McKenzie, Géraud Portal, Darryl Hall, Or Bareket, Isaiah Thompson, Julien Alour, Bernd Reiter, Christine & Ingrid Jensen, Clovis Nicolas, Luca Santaniello, Jon Davis, Rob Dugay, Rodney Green, Rob Mounsey, Gregory Porter, Sangoma Everett, Saul Rubin, Stacy Dillard, Alex Claffy, Lawrence Leathers. 


Leader/ Co-leader : 

On Both Sides of the Atlantic (Gaya, 2020)
We Love Ella (Nome, 2018)
La Voix d’Ella (Nome, 2018)
Django Extended (Nome, 2017)
Mr Django & Lady Swing (Nome, 2017)
Keystone Live au Crescent 2016 (Nome, 2016)
Watt’s w. Fred Nardin (Gaya, 2016)
Peter and the Woolf… And Jazz ! w. David Tennant (Chant du Monde, 2015)
Le carnaval Jazz des animaux (Nome, 2015)
Pierre et le Loup et le Jazz ! (Chant du Monde, 2013) – Prix de l’académie du jazz


Collectif. « Jazz Loves Disney 2 » (Verve, Universal Music, 2017)
GarrafaJazz (Blaxtream, 2017)
Laurent Courthaliac « All my Life » (Jazz&People, 2017) – Prix de l’académie du jazz (arrangements)
Zaz & Quincy Jones « Paris ! » (Warner Music, 2014)
Alexandre Toporov « Flutuendo » (2014)

© Jon Boutellier 2020
Banner Photos by Philippe Levy Stab