Javier Santiago is a powerful young artist with a strong vision. Born and raised in Minneapolis, MN, he grew up surrounded by strong artistic support. He was given a strong musical background by his jazz musician parents, as well as stalwarts of the local jazz community. Javier started playing piano at the age of 5, and was classically trained until he discovered his love of jazz music at the age of 11. In high school, he was a prominent player in the Minneapolis/St. Paul music scene. It was around this time that he started composing and working on his music production skills. While still in high school, he organized his own quintet and produced two albums. He also won the Schubert Club Jazz Piano Competition two years in a row.
In 2007, Javier was selected by the great Dave Brubeck and a panel of judges to be a part of the Brubeck Institute Fellowship program at the University of the Pacific in California. It was there that Javier was able to learn from some of the greatest musicians in the world; Christian McBride, Robert Glasper, Eric Harland, Joe Gilman, Nicholas Payton, Joshua Redman, Geoffrey Keezer and Jeff Ballard to name a few. While at the Brubeck Institute, Javier was fortunate enough to play at venues all across the nation such as the Detroit Jazz Festival, The Kennedy Center and Blues Alley in Washington, D.C., IAJE, and Yoshi’s in Oakland.
The Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet (’08-’09) was awarded Best College Group Of the Year in DownBeat Magazine two years in a row (2009 and 2010).
In 2011, Javier was selected to participate in the 14th Annual Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program. The intensive residency program took place at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. It was there that Javier studied with Curtis Fuller, George Cables, Winard Harper, Dr. Nathan Davis, and other jazz heavyweights.
Javier received his Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Piano Performance in late 2011 at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in NYC. Since then, he has been playing gigs regularly in NYC at venues such as Smalls Jazz Club, 55 Bar, The Iridium, and several others. He also was a finalist in the 2015 American Jazz Pianist Competition. Javier is not limited to just playing the piano. He is also a prolific composer. His work is an eclectic blend of Jazz, R&B, Rock, Hip Hop and everything in between. Javier is also a teacher, arranger, and producer.
Brubeck Institute (2007 – 2009)
Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Piano Performance – The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, New York City
McKnight Fellowship for Musicians (2016)
American Jazz Pianist Competition Finalist In Concert Award (2015)
14th Annual Betty Carter Jazz Ahead intensive residency program participant at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2011)
DownBeat Magazine’s Best College Group of the Year – Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet (2008 & 2009)
Schubert Club Jazz Piano Scholarship (2006 & 2007)
Javier Santiago – Year of the Horse (EP)
The Outlaw Collective – Off The Grid
John Raymond – Strength & Song
Avidya – Tree Of Series