Saxophonist, Alex Han, is steadily gaining attention as one of the “Young Jazz Lions” of his generation. With numerous performances at internationally recognized venues, musical awards, and a refreshingly original sound, he continues to expand his reputation as a talented and versatile musician.
Han began his musical journey at the tender age of 8, when his parents encouraged him to study the alto saxophone. Soon thereafter, his innate musical ability began to emerge and by age twelve, he was one of two national recipients of the VSA arts, Young Soloists Award. Around the same time, he was invited by Grammy Award Winning saxophonist, Paquito D’Rivera, to “sit-in” with him at a Jazz at Lincoln Center performance for two nights.
A year later, young Han was asked to perform at the 2001 Festival Internacional de Jazz de Lapataia in Punta del Este, Uruguay. There, the thirteen year old student cut his teeth alongside such Jazz Masters as Paquito D’Rivera, Joe Lovano, Lewis Nash, Slide Hampton, Johnny Griffin, Kenny Barron, Jon Faddis, Nicholas Payton, Dave Valentin, Claudio Roditi and Antonio Sanchez.
In the years to follow, he would go on to perform with such Jazz luminaries as Marcus Miller, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Joey DeFrancesco, George Benson, Poncho Sanchez, James Moody, Kirk Whalum, Bob Mintzer, Jimmy Haslip, Marcus Baylor, Russell Ferrante, Patrice Rushen, Oscar Peterson, Rufus Reid, Keb’ Mo’, Diane Reeves, Roy Hargrove, James Carter, Ken Peplowski, Terri Lyne Carrington, Brian Lynch, Akira Tana, Gerri Allen, Shelly Berg and Walt Weiskopf.
By age 14, Han was a recipient of the 25th Annual Down Beat Magazine, Student Music Awards. In the ensuing year, at the age of fifteen, he was selected as a semi-finalist for the White Foundation World Saxophone Competition (contestants were up to the age of thirty) held at the 2003 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
By age 17, Han won the 17th Annual Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) Competition for saxophone which is designed to provide early career recognition for outstanding young musicians in the United States. He was also selected for an alto chair on the 2005 Monterey Jazz Festival Next Generation Orchestra.
In May 2005, Han was once again a recipient of a Down Beat Magazine, Student Music Award. By the end of that year, he was selected for an alto chair on the 2006 Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble and a few months later, won a 2006 ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer Award.
In March 2006, at age 18, Han signed with Rico Reeds (a division of J.D’Addario & Co.) as their youngest artist endorsee. A month later, he was awarded the Berklee College of Music Presidential Scholarship.
In the Fall/Winter of 2008/2009, Han continued to tour with Marcus Miller, performing at music venues in the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, in addition to performing on the Inaugaral Playboy Jazz Cruise with Marcus Miller, Herbie Hancock, Poncho Sanchez, Dianne Reeves, Roy Hargrove and many other notable musicians.
In August 2009, after only 3 years (finishing 1 year early), Han completed his undergraduate studies at Berklee College of Music as a performance major. Upon graduating from Berklee, Alex became a Yamaha Artist (as a professional musician) transitioning from his previous status as a Yamaha Young Performing Artist (as a student). By age 21, Alex was fortunate to have acquired 6 product endorsements with Yamaha, Rico Reeds, Beechler Mouthpieces, Applied Microphone Technology (AMT), Neotech Straps and ProTec Cases.
Today, Han continues to tour internationally with Marcus Miller.