Short version:

Alex Terrier is a French jazz saxophonist known for his work with the Grammy Award-winning Mingus Big Band and his own projects. He has released several albums of his own projects including stellar musicians such as Kenny Barron, George Garzone, Roberto Vizcaino. Terrier has also performed and recorded with numerous renowned musicians such as with Paquito D'Rivera, Diane Reeves, The Keystone Big Band, Esperanza Spalding.

With his Franco-Cuban Project, Terrier has released the album “Camina Tu”, which features his blend of jazz and Cuban music influences.

Long version:
Alex Terrier was born in Paris, France, in 1980. He didn't grow up in a musical environment, but "the day I sat down to the piano was the first step to a life long journey into the world of music" Alex says. Studying classical piano for a few years, it was a shock when Alex Terrier, around age 12, heard Duke Ellington and the sound of saxophonist Johnny Hodges. That was the second step. 

From that day on, Alex Terrier has been dedicating his life to Jazz: "I used to get up in the morning and play the piano half asleep, really first thing in the morning before breakfast. I would listen to music all the time, read, study... that's all I did when I was a kid". His first influences were Duke Ellington, Memphis Slim, Fats Domino, and Sydney Bechet, as these were the few LPs he found in his father's home office.

Alex Terrier received a Brevet de Technicien des Métiers de la Musique in Sèvres (it is hard to translate, but that could be Music Technologic Diploma) in 1999. He received a Médaille d'Or at the Ecole Nationale de Musique d'Evry before going to Berklee College of Music in 2004. He graduated from Berklee in 2007 with a Dual Degree in Performance and Jazz Composition.

He has been since then an active member of the New York scene and has become the first French musician to be part of the legendary Mingus Big Band. He is an indie artist and has become what you could call a multiple threat: band leader, composer, arranger, teacher etc... Alex Terrier's latest album with pianist Kenny Barron is scheduled to be released in the Fall 2014.

A born leader, he manages his own bands both in North America with the Alex Terrier New York Quartet and Europe with the Alex Terrier European Quintet. He is also increasingly present in South America. "My goal is simple: try to create some beauty and share it. The magical couple hours I share with people during a concert help me keeping on. If I can help even just a few persons to feel better with my music, my life won't be totally useless".

Alex Terrier has been interested in composition since an early age, studying both classical and jazz masters: "When I was a kid I would do everything I could to study and understand how it was possible to write music. How could I write melodies like Bach, Debussy, Mozart? How could I orchestrate like Ravel? This is an impossible task to me. I just try my best and hope that someone will be moved by my music".  His two albums feature his compositions. "Stop Requested" was recorded while he was still studying at Berklee and legendary George Garzone supports his then student on 6 tracks. Joe Lovano talks about Alex Terrier as "a very gifted and expressive saxophonist [...] with a very strong developing conception as a composer and a soloist", and "Roundtrip", recorded in NYC in 2009, illustrates this quote perfectly.

Big band music has also been a huge part in Alex Terrier's love affair with jazz. He spent countless hours listening to and studying Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson etc... and modern ones such as Kenny Wheeler, Maria Schneider etc... Equally fascinated by European composers, Alex Terrier can write for jazz orchestra complex and intricated serial music for big band ("L'Heautontimoroumenos"), swing ("Like Someone In Love", "There Will Never Be Another You") or modern jazz ("Scrupules").

If you would like to discuss with Alex Terrier about some arranging work, contact him via the contact form here. Alex Terrier also offers transcription and copyist services.

As a teacher, Alex Terrier has been appreciated both by private students and in a class environment. The most commun comment is how passionate he is to share his knowledge and genuinely interested in students' progress. "I remember going to some classes or clinics when I was a kid and being so disapointed. You know, getting out of the class without knowing anything new or nothing to motivate me. Today that's the worst thing that could happen to me, someone telling me he/she didn't get anything from my class. Someone trusts me to learn something so I try my very best to share my knowledge in a relax and unintimidating way, but at the same time one has to understand that a serious commitment is necessary".

If interested in discussing with Alex Terrier about his teaching availability (one on one or group class, improvisation for all instruments, composition, arrangement, band mentoring etc...), you can contact him via the contact form here.

Alex Terrier is also having fun producing music for pictures. "I prefer music made by humans, no question  about it. But I have to say it's a lot of fun to produce music with computers and the tools we have today are truly amazing. I like the challenge to write music specifically for a motion picture, it's a total different conception. It can be very inspiring".

In addition, Alex Terrier's passion for music has pushed him to learn also about the technologic part of his art and has become very knowledgable with saxophones and mouthpieces. In 2011 Alex Terrier teamed up with Fred Lebayle (Lebayle Mouthpieces) and together they designed a new mouthpiece model, the AT chamber. Click here to read Alex's blog about this.


"Alex is a very gifted and expressive saxophonist. He has shown in performance a very strong developing conception as a composer and a soloist"
Joe Lovano

"Alex is a very impressive saxophonist and composer who has organized some beautiful and exciting music with wonderful contributions by notable young players active on the New York scene these days. Terrier has a compelling sound and approach that should interest the serious listener"
Dave Liebman

"Alex Terrier can play all the saxophones, but his soprano is one of the more poetic and naturally sounding expressions heard out of that horn in a long while. Terrier's sax sings with the articulation and cadence of a mockingbird, using the instrument as an extension of purely human expression"
S. Victor Aaron,

"A first-rate composer"
Bill Mikowski, JazzTimes

"Certainly a young lion to add to your play list, he plays nu mainstream with a surety that comes with having nothing to prove and just letting the blowing flow. Hot stuff and a great new find."
Chris Spector, Midwest Record

"A bright new talent"
Jeff Dayton-Johnson, All About Jazz

"Alex Terrier exhibits many of the same qualities associated with George Garzone: a compelling logic in the construction of his long solos accompanied by a ready recourse to the outer reaches of the vocabulary that both players have inherited from Coltrane."
Jeff Dayton-Johnson, All About Jazz


Genre: Jazz, improvised music

Associated Musicians: Mingus Big Band, Mark Gross, David Lee Jones, Wayne Escoffery, Alex Foster, David Kikoski, Helen Sung, Boris Koslov, Franck Lacy, Abraham Burton, Earl McIntyre, George Garzone, Joe Lovano, Esperanza Spalding, Francois Moutin, Roy Assaf, Steve Davis, Louis Moutin, Pierre De Bethmann, Roberto Fonseca, Francisco Mela, Idan Raichel Project, Manu Codjia, Mauro Gargano, Leo Montana, Felipe Cabrera, Lukmil Perez, Javier Zalba, Lionel Loueke etc...

  • The most important is whenever a listener tells me he/she has been moved by my music. 
  • 1st place at the Monte-Carlo International Jazz Soloist Competition, 2010
  • Lavoisier Scholarship (French Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Marcel Bleunstein-Blanchet Scholarship
  • Berklee Scholarship and awards

Influences: Afro-American folk music, Jazz icons, Western music icons, life.

Hometown: Paris, France

DOB: September 25, 1980

Current location: Paris, France / New York City, USA

Availability: Worldwide

Skills: Saxophones Soprano, alto, tenor, flute, piano, composer, arranger, band leader, sideman, teacher etc...

Equipment: Lebayle Mouthpieces, Rico Reeds, BG France (ligatures and accessories), Keilwerth Saxophones

  • BTMM, Sevres, France
  • Medaille d'Or, Ecole Nationale De Musique, Evry, France
  • Bachelor's Degree in Performance and Composition, Berklee College Of Music, Boston, USA
Recordings as a leader:
Recordings as a sideman:


Press Release Roundtrip (english version)
Press Release Roundtrip (version française)
Press Kit (english version)

Follow Alex Terrier On Twitter