Jonathan was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan. He began playing the drums at the age of nine and progressed through the Regina Lions Junior Band and the music program at his high school, Campbell Collegiate. Ultimately, his interest in jazz led him to enroll in the Jazz Studies program at McGill University from which he graduated with distinction in 1999. In 2002, Jon completed his Master’s in Jazz Studies at McGill University where he studied jazz drumming, improvisation and composition.
Jon has studied with some of the finest jazz educators in the country including Gordon Foote, Kevin Dean, Jan Jarcyzk, Chris McCann, Andre White, Michel Lambert and Dave Laing. He has also attended the prestigious summer jazz workshop at the Banff Centre for the Arts, where he has performed with Canadian jazz greats Hugh Fraser, Don Thompson and Kenny Wheeler. He has also performed with many of Canada’s jazz elite including Charlie Biddle, Brian Hurley, Louise Rose, Alaister Kay, Mart Kinny, Gary Guthman, Mike Rud, Hadley Caliman, Greg Clayton, Ed Lewis, Chase Sanborn, Andre White, Tilden Webb, John LaBelle, Kevin Dean, Kelly Jefferson, The McGill Jazz Orchestra, Jeff Johnston, Lorraine Desmerais, Steve Amirault, Kieran Overs, The Altsys Jazz Orchestra, Pat LaBarbera, The Regina Symphony Orchestra and The Montreal Jazz Big Band.
Recently, Jon was the recipient of a fellowship from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and attended the “Betty Carter Jazz Ahead” residency in Washington, D.C.. Along with twenty other distinguished young jazz artists, he was featured with such jazz icons as Terence Blanchard, Eric Reed, Winard Harper, Curtis Fuller and John Clayton.
In January 2003 Jon released his debut CD, “McCallum’s Island” featuring his quintet. The CD contains an exciting collection of his original compositions and its release was followed by a twenty-day tour of Western Canada. Jon’s quintet recently performed at the 2003 edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival and was nominated for the General Motors Grand Prix du Festival (awarded to the most outstanding Canadian group).
Jon’s influences include the legacy of drumming left to us by the great jazz drummers. Some of Jon’s favorite drummers include the great Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Ed Blackwell, Roy Haynes, Mel Lewis, Philly Joe Jones and Billy Higgins.
Some of Jon’s favorite drummers also include today’s modern masters who he has either seen perform live or studied with privately. These contemporary influences include Matt Wilson, Carl Allen, Lewis Nash, Billy Drummond and Joe Farnsworth. Jon is also influenced by the many traditions of ethnic musics from such places as Cuba, Brazil, West Africa, India, North Africa and Ireland.