Bio and Quotes

Jay Rattman, a multi-instrumentalist improvisor and composer in New York City, has performed at Jazz @ Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Coachella Festival, in addition to appearing on NPR's Sound of Young America, WNYC's Soundcheck, The Late Show, and The Tonight Show. A recipient of an ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award, Rattman holds bachelors and masters degrees from Manhattan School of Music, which presented him with the William H. Borden award for outstanding accomplishment in jazz. In demand in settings as diverse as traditional jazz, klezmer, big bands, free improvisations, creative jazz, and classical chamber music, he has performed or recorded with artists as disparate as Bob Dorough, Feist, Nellie McKay, Stefon Harris, and the José Limón Dance Company. A member of the klezmer band “Zlek” and Phil Woods's Festival Orchestra, he leads a jazz quartet that plays members' original music. As a member of the Manhattan Saxophone Quartet, he has premiered pieces by David Noon, Marc—Antonio Consoli, Jeffrey Nytch, and J. Mark Stambaugh among others.

“Did you see the size of the saxophone on that guy? Crazy! Crazy!”

— David Letterman


“A giant of the future.”

— Phil Woods


“I don’t want any of that poetic shit. I want eighth-notes!”

— Phil Woods, at recording session for New Celebration


“…it‘s a vehicle for some remarkable clarinet playing by Jay Rattman. A lapsed clarinest myself, I marvel not only at his ability as a soloist, but also his section work as the lead voice later in the piece.” “Taken at an adults only’ tempo, it features wonderful ensemble playing and another terrific turn by Jay Rattman on the clarinet.”

— Jim McNeely, from the liner notes of New Celebration


“The salutes to Jones (titled ‘Hank Jones’) and D’Amico (‘Ballad for Hank’) sound gentle and tender but never mournful, with the second of those so lovely that it could be a setting for dancing close, holding on to someone you love. Jay Rattman’s sweet clarinet in that number enriches that. Further, Rattman contributes a jumping baritone solo in ‘Before I Left’… Moreover, Rattman, again on clarinet, comes up with intricate beauty in a soulful take on ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’…”

— Gordon Spencer, KIOS, Omaha Public Radio, in Jazz CD of the Month: Phil Woods & The Festival Orchestra / New Celebration / Chiaroscuro Records


“…clarinetist Jay Rattman, who also plays soprano with a trumpet—like, Sidney Bechet-inspired attack.”

— Will Friedwald, The Wall Street Journal


“Jay Rattman offered a beautifully understated baritone sax solo on the evening’s opener, ‘Look to the Sky,’ which made it clear that he understands bossa’s quiet fire.”

— Tim Wilkins,


“Whatever your clarinetist is getting paid, it should be doubled.”

— Richard Stoltzman, at some private party I was playing at


“I used to play saxophone, but I gave it up in college.”

— An intoxicated man at a gig