Currently based in New York, 39 - year- old Jon Wikan is a jazz drummer rapidly garnering praise on the international music scene. He has accompanied a cross-section of leaders, ranging from singers Ernestine Anderson, Mark Murphy and Freddy Cole to established horn players such as Bud Shank, Ingrid Jensen, and Pete Cristlieb. Born in Petersburg, Alaska, Wikan was transplanted to Seattle Washington at age 5.
He was turned on to the drums in high school there and began spending the summer months back in Alaska commercial fishing with his grandfather in order to buy his first drum set, as well as saving money for college. While attending high school in Seattle, he began playing in the school jazz band and was bitten by the jazz- bug through listening to old recordings, which his peers and teachers made for him.
From 1988-95 Wikan attended Central Washington University. Within this period he took a year off to tour with the legendary Mills Brothers and Ellington alumni Herb Jefferies. The road experience paid off as he was soon called to work with vocalist Ernestine Anderson. During his travels he managed to study with some of the great drum masters such as Chico Hamilton, Carl Allen, and Jeff Hamilton.
In 1996 Wikan immersed himself in the Seattle jazz scene and was taken under the wings of multi-horn man Jay Thomas, Bill Ramsay, and composer James Knapp. During this period he became one of the busiest sidemen in the northwest area backing international artists including Pat Labarbra, Herb Ellis, John Fedchock, Rick Margitza, Buddy Collette, Roswell Rudd, Mark Murphy, Kurt Elling, Bobby Shew, Brad Turner, Jessica Williams and Dan Faehnle.
Wikans' recent move to New York City immediately landed him a record date with pianist Geoff Keezer, a tour of Japan with Downbeat Vocalist of the Year, Mark Murphy and a week at the Blue Note with Grammy award winners, the New York Voices. As well, he performed with the Ingrid Jensen Quartet at the Detroit jazz festival, the Mary Lou Williams Jazz festival, the Savannah Jazz Festival and a live CBC radio concert in Montreal. Other artists Jon has played with include; Karrin Allyson, Sam Yahel, Ron Affif, Seamus Blake, Marcus Strickland, Jay Collins, David Budway, Mark Elf, David Berkman, Jeffery Smith, Antonia Bennett, and young piano prodigy, Aaron Parks.
Wikan does not limit himself to being just a sideman. He is an active clinician/ teacher, teaching privately at The New School University and out of his home studio in Queens, NY. He is also an emerging composer, writing music for various large and small groups which he both leads and plays in. September of 2001, Jon was chosen to participate in the BMI jazz composer's workshop in New York City, which gives him an opportunity to work with composers Jim McNeely and Mike Abene.
Jon's most recent projects have been touring with The Geoffrey Keezer Trio and the formation and recording of a new band called "Project O" with co-leaders Ingrid Jensen (trumpet) and Gary Versace (B-3 organ) and stellar saxophone players Seamus Blake, Steve Wilson and Christine Jensen. The bands' recent 2-week West Coast (US/Canada) tour found Project O playing to sold out crowds including 3 nights at The 2002 Earshot International Jazz Festival. Project O will release their new record entitled NOW AS THEN on Justin-Time records in spring of 2003.
- Darcy James Argue(composer/bandleader )
- James Hirschfeld (trombone)
- Noah Bless(trombone)
- Jennifer Wharton(bass trombone)
- Mike Fahie(trombone)
- Pete McCann(guitar)
- Adam Birnbaum(piano)
- Matt Clohesy(bass)
- Jon Wikan(drums)
- Ingrid Jensen(trumpet)
- Nadje Noordhuis(trumpet)
- Seneca Black(trumpet)
- David Smith(trumpet)
- Matt Hollman(trumpet)
- Jon Irabagon(saxophone)
- Josh Sinton(baritone saxophone, bass clarinet)
- Mark Small(saxophone)
- Erica Von Kleiss(saxophone)
- Rob Wilkerson(saxophone)