ABOUT JON SHEN
Jazz Fusion, Neo-Soul, Gospel Funk Musician
Singer / Improvisation Vocalist
Pianist / Keyboardist
Composer / Producer
Band Leader / Director
Contemporary Music Educator
World Music Trophy Winner
Jon Shen, a Jazz Fusion, Neo-Soul, Gospel Funk singer and keyboardist whose passion for music and composition runs deep in his soul. Viewing music as a form of language, he is keen on improvisation by using his music vocabulary, he possess the ability to use rhythm and harmony to express the world from his creative perspective. In his music, you will hear his solid background of Gospel, Jazz, Funk, Soul, R&B, Afro-Beat, Urban Fusion, Oriental style and so on. Jon never sticks to a single genre; instead, he blends multiple styles to form a unique listening experience. His time spent living in Spain has helped to infuse his compositions with a special mellowness.
Jon has put his vocal training in “Speech Level Singing” technique for many years. His voice has the ability adapt to various musical styles such as Classical Jazz and Funk Gospel, dances freely between high and low pitches, across varying dynamics and frequencies as well. He improvises to music without much restraint, and has been deemed a “Vocal Player”.
Jon began to learn classical piano at the age of 5. At 13, he formed a band where he played the keyboard, composed and arranged songs. His music was heavily influenced by musicians such as Marcus Miller, D’Angelo, Roy Hargrove, Tony Allen, George Duke, Don Blackman and etc. At church, Jon not only played the keyboard, he was also the lead singer of the church gospel choir. At the age of 18, he held his first solo concert and was admitted to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. It was there that he studied under the famous singers Wang Zuoxin, Dong Fang and Yang Xiaoyong. At 23, Jon was admitted to the Berklee College of Music where he studied Jazz and went on to attain a master’s degree in contemporary music performance. At Berklee, he studied under renowned jazz and Latin singer Celia Mur, Spanish jazz pianist Polo Orti, and Enric Alberich, master of Contemporary Harmony Theory. Jon has performed at the “Groove Master Series Concert” in the United States, the “European Summer Festival”, the “American Music and Culture Series Concert” in Spain, the “JZ Jazz Festival” in China and etc. He has performed alongside many well-known masters such as pianist and singer Patrice Rushen, bassist of “Snarky Puppy” Michael League, pop singer Siedah Garret, jazz pianist Marc Mangen from Luxembourg.
- Founded the band “B-Funk” with Berklee Alumni in 2014 and performed in many of European festivals and concerts in fusion jazz and gospel funk style.
- Composed and produced the song “Pear Flower” in 2015, fusing Chinese style with soul and jazz. It received acclaim from Berklee professors and is used as teaching example for the “Contemporary Arrangement” course. It won the 2017 World Music Trophy.
- In 2016 and 2017, performed in the “JZ Jazz Festival”. Formed the band “JAZoove Amoy” and special performing his rearrangement of classic Taiwanese song “望春風” in Jazz style, he also performed a live recording of this song with the band on the many of TV Shows and radio programs .
- In 2017, received an invitation from the Chinese Consulate in Manchester to be a guest performer at the “Chinese Song UK finals" held in Manchester Central, UK. Organised and held personal charity concert “LUV Jazz and Funk” in Leeds, UK.
- In 2018-2019, composed and produced his music album “Sole Divinity”. After its worldwide release, toured multiple cities in Asia performing with the band “JAZoove Mixtape”.
- In 2020, Jon returned to Hong Kong to form a band called "Jazove Mixtape" with some well-known Hong Kong musicians, and began to play an active role in Hong Kong's performing venues and platforms.
As a musician, Jon not only composes and performs, he is also devoted to the contemporary music education for aspiring musicians. His approach to teaching music is to teach it like a language. He combines technique, contemporary theory, and practical application and uses listening, observation, speaking, and writing as tools to learn. He guides students to develop their listening, playing, and improvisational skills to become well-rounded musicians. The goal is to give students the ability to use music as a language to build their own masterpieces. Jon’s students have gone on to become professional singers, performers, composers, arrangers, teachers, and to work in the contemporary music industry. Jon continues to collect musical elements from around the world and to integrate these, along with his life experiences into his music and teaching practice.
*Jon Shen on being a musician:
Every style of music originates from a certain place, but my opinion is that music is mean to be shared and played around the world as ONE - it doesn’t have to stay in any single place. Music is a gift from God, we can all appreciate and learn from it, rising above racial and ethnic barriers. Having an open perspective as a musician allows us to be more free when we play and compose, learn about different cultures, customs, and history through music. We can take different styles and fuse them together to form our own musical language. Through this language we have the ability to build and communicate our stories.