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Jake Baxendale

Composer, Jazz Composer, Performer


Jake Baxendale is an alto saxophonist and composer based in Te Whanganui-A-Tara (Wellington) Aotearoa. Raised in remote Mohua (Golden Bay) he demonstrates in his life and music a freedom of expression, a love of nature and a community oriented mindset that is heavily influenced by his upbringing.

He graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor and Post Graduate Diploma in jazz performance from the NZSM Te Koki, and later cut his teeth playing a weekly residency with John Rae’s eclectic large group The Troubles. The same year Wellington 8-piece The Jac recorded their debut album Nerve, featuring compositions by Jake and Callum Allardice.

In 2013 the pair moved to Berlin to experience life and music in another city, and it was here that Jake met Luke Sweeting, a jazz pianist from Sydney, and formed the group Antipodes, aiming to develop a trans-Pacific sound that incorporates their shared European experience. Jake also had the opportunity to perform with the Berlin Big Band and record with the Jazz Musik Institut’s large ensemble.

Returning to Aotearoa in 2014, Jake released Nerve with The Jac on the Rattle label, which was nominated for the Best Jazz Album Award in 2015. The same year The Jac released their second album The Green Hour.

In 2016 Jake secured the Edwin Carr scholarship towards composition lessons in New York City with Darcy James Argue, Miguel Zenon, Dave Douglas and Jon Irabagon, and saxophone lessons with David Binney, Loren Stillman and Michael Attias. This led to a commission from Creative New Zealand to write for a collaboration between The Jac and South Korean traditional/fusion group Black String. The project debuted at the 2017 Wellington Jazz Festival, and later toured South Korea, including a performance at the Jarasum International Jazz Festival. His composition Beyond the Palace, written for this project, was nominated for an APRA Best Jazz Composition award in 2018.

2018 also saw the release of Antipodes’ debut studio album Good Winter, featuring three compositions by Jake. The album was nominated in 2019 for the Vodafone Best Jazz Artist award. He has contributed compositions and performances to many other albums, including the self released JB3 – Live at the Rogue and Vagabond, Antipodes – Live and Richter City Rebels’ We Do It Like That and Hard Work Hard Money.

Jake tours Aotearoa and Australia regularly with both The Jac and Antipodes, and has performed nationally with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, STROMA, The Troubles, Richter City Rebels, The Rodger Fox Big Band, The Wellington Mingus Ensemble, Bazurka, and his own trio JB3, among many others.

Jake’s collaboration with Jasmine Lovell-Smith, Sanctuary was released in 2021 and saw the pair nominated for the Aotearoa Music Awards “Best Jazz Artist” and was featured in Bandcamp’s “Best Jazz on Bandcamp” in June of that year. In 2021, he completed a Masters in Music at the University of Auckland, under the supervision of Roger Manins, which explored techniques for generating fresh and personal improvisations. He currently runs the jazz band at the Rātā school of music.

Composed (9)


for jazz ensemble


for large jazz ensemble

Beyond the Palace

for jazz ensemble

Leaves of Grass

for jazz ensemble, 22m


for jazz ensemble


for jazz ensemble, 7m

Sleep (A Glimpse of Plimpse)

for jazz ensemble, 5m

The Green Hour

for jazz ensemble