In my travels, I am exposed to hundreds of saxophonists every year. Ian Rapien is by far the most unique saxophonist I have heard in years", says best-selling saxophone recording artist Walter Beasley. "In addition to his incredible delivery his compositions are equally impressive. In addition to his incredible delivery his compositions are equally impressive. In my opinion Ian represents the best of the new young musicians poised to take instrumental music to the next level.”

About Ian Rapien

Originally from Southern California, Saxophonist, Composer, and Music Educator Ian Rapien has called many places home. Upon receiving a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, he received his Bachelors of Music in Music Performance.  Upon graduating Summa Cum Laude, Rapien relocated to New York City, calling Brooklyn home, while receiving his Masters of Music in jazz Performance from New York University (NYU). 

While living in NYC, Rapien was exposed to and performed in a wide variety of styles. This attracted the attention of famed producer/ bassist/ leader of Snarky Puppy Michael League, and in 2009 was consequently invited to tour with the band from Texas to NYC, recording on the band's first live-in-the-studio recording in front of an audience, "Tell Your Friends" (Ropeadope Records).  

In 2016, Rapien moved to Lima, Peru.  While living in Lima, Rapien performed actively around the country, and taught masterclasses on Saxophone and Jazz Theory and Improvisation. While performing, he befriended many of the best musicians in the capitol, which he still travels to the country to perform with.  

As a composer, Ian has created his unique writing style of combining the improvisational elements of Jazz, the tonal centers of Pop and Rock Music, the rhythmic elements of South America, and the melodic shapings of Classical Music. Rapien's compositional style "blurs the lines between Jazz, Electronica, Progressive Rock, and Jam-Band Styles, making the piece sound like a cross between Miles Davis, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, and the Dave Mathews Band" (Jazziz Magazine). Always in search of creating new forms of expression, Rapien created his group Spectral Awakenings in 2002, envisioning a new brand of Jazz that could excite both jazz musicians and those newer to the idiom. Performances have included Singapore, Peru, Los Angeles, Boston, and New York City, culminating in a 3-year monthly residency at the world-famous 55 Bar in Manhattan. 

In 2021, Rapien returned to his native Southern California, where he again resides in his native Orange County.  Upon returning to California, he and Kai Kurosawa, his musical soulmate from his Berklee College of Music days, rekindled their musical connection and started the instrumental trio Little Wooden Bridge with fellow Berklee Alumni, drummer Chuck van Haecke.  In the few months since it’s inception, the group has been busy performing, doing extensive video work, and have a vlog series called “Konstruction Diaries”.

Ian Rapien with Snarky Puppy

Live at the 55 Bar, NYC

Live In Studio Performance, Lima, Peru