JAvier Santiago


Hailing from Minneapolis, MN, Javier Santiago is a pianist with a diverse set of influences - ranging from classical and jazz to hip-hop and world music. Inspired by his father, a drummer, and mother, a jazz vocalist, Santiago began studying piano at the age of 5. Upon graduating high school, he was selected by the great Dave Brubeck and a panel of judges to study music at the Brubeck Institute in Stockton, CA - where he studied with some of the greatest musicians in the world such as Christian McBride, Robert Glasper, Nicholas Payton and Joshua Redman. Then in 2009 he attended the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Manhattan, where he studied with jazz greats like Reggie Workman, George Cables, Billy Harper and Jane Ira Bloom. Outside of his college studies, Santiago also was selected to participate in the 14th Annual Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program in 2011, and was a finalist in the 2015 American Jazz Pianist Competition. After releasing several beat tapes showcasing his music production skills, Santiago independently released his 5-song debut EP of all original compositions, Year of the Horse in 2015. This release marked the end of his 5-year stay in NYC, where he performed regularly at venues like Smalls Jazz Club and 55 Bar.

In 2016, upon moving back to his hometown of Minneapolis, MN, Santiago became a recipient of the 2016 McKnight Fellowship for Musicians. He returned to the studio to record his debut LP of all original compositions entitled Phoenix with a sextet including his former east coast trio consisting of drummer Corey Fonville and bassist Zach Brown - as well as saxophonists Dayna Stephens and Ben Flocks and guitarist Nir Felder. It features guests such as trumpeter Nicholas Payton, John Raymond and vocalist J. Hoard.

Santiago spends his time between Minneapolis and the Bay Area, CA, where he performs and composes regularly and is also an accomplished educator, arranger and producer.

"It's really too bad that Javier Santiago didn't have a music career in the '70s. He would have filled theaters in every major city with a band like this.” — PopMatters

Javier Santiago - Piano, Fender Rhodes, Synths, Trumpet on track 3, Vocals on track 1, 4, 6
Corey Fonville - Drums
Zach Brown - Upright Bass on tracks 4, 6 and Electric Bass on tracks 2, 3 ,7
Nir Felder - Electric Guitar on tracks 3, 4, 5, 6
Dayna Stephens - Tenor Sax on track 4 and EWI on tracks 3, 6
Ben Flocks - Tenor Sax on tracks 1, 3, 4 and Soprano Sax on tracks 1, 2, 7
John Raymond - Flugelhorn on track 5
Nicholas Payton - Trumpet on track 8
Omar AbdulKarim - Trumpet on track 4
J. Hoard - Vocals on track 1
Proper-T - Vocals on track 1, 2, 7
Adrian Suarez - Percussion on track 6


Release Date: June 29, 2018


All songs composed by Javier Santiago except #1 written by Javier Santiago and J. Hoard

Recorded September 2016 at Fantasy Studios (Berkeley, CA)

Produced by Javier Santiago
Co-Produced by Zach Brown
Engineered by Adam Muñoz at Fantasy Studios (Berkeley, CA)
Additional Recording and Editing by Medium Zach at Woodgrain (Minneapolis, MN) & Zach Brown at The End (Brooklyn, NY)
Mixed by Adrian Suarez
Mastered by Huntley Miller at HM Mastering (Minneapolis, MN)

Cover art and CD design by mejiwahn