With a sound described as “seductively pithy” (Signal to Noise), saxophonist and composer Nathan Hanson makes music that invites listeners to stand outside themselves and the flow of time. Noisy abstractions are as likely as delicate and lyrical melodies. The result is freely improvised music that is “lithe and soaring, engaging in judicious honk and splatter” (New York City Jazz Record).  

In Europe, Hanson has performed at the Atlantique Jazz Festival, Splendor in Amsterdam and the Sons d’Hiver Festival in Paris. In the US he’s played at New York’s Knitting Factory, the Outpost in Albuquerque, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and Chicago’s Elastic.  

From 2004-2012, Hanson led Fantastic Merlins, a quartet of saxophone, cello, bass and drums. Eschewing solos and instead improvising all the way through, they placed themselves at the nexus of free jazz and contemporary chamber music. This approach secured Hanson’s fascination with following the inspiration of the moment at hand. Each composition could take a new form and still retain its personality if they let the music show the way forward.  

Several tours of the US and France opened the door to collaborations with Didier Petit, Catherine Delaunay, Tony Hymas and Jacques Thollot.  He has recorded more than a dozen albums including three with Fantastic Merlins, and three in duo with bassist Doan Brian Roessler. 

Grants from New Music America and the Minnesota State Arts Board helped Hanson launch solo concerts that explore how space interacts with sound. A tree farm, a cathedral, an empty grain silo, a front yard--each space reverberates and decays in its own way. The energy of the audience circulates and combines with that sound and silence, music and breath. The effect is to help us all become more present to the moment as it unfolds.


ABC No-Rio, NYC 
Academy of Music and Theater, Tallinn, Estonia 
AJMI, Avignon, France 
American Swedish Museum, Chicago, IL 
Artists’ Quarter, St. Paul, MN 
Arts Center of Saint Peter, MN 
Atelier Tampon, Paris, France 
Atlantique Jazz Festival, Brest, France 
Bab-ilo, Paris, France 
Cafe l’Angora, Paris, France 
Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis, MN 
Club Mink, Tolmin, Slovenia 
Concrete and Grass Festival, St. Paul, MN 
Cutting Room, NYC 
Dakota Jazz Club, Minneapolis, MN 
Elastic, Chicago, IL 
Electric Eyes Festival, Minneapolis, MN 
Ermitage, Paris, France 
Espace Cuturel, Angers, France 
Espace en Cours, Paris, France 
Festival Kind of Belou, Treignac, France 
First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 
Garfield Artworks, Pittsburgh, PA 
Gheroarte, Milano, Italy 
Hotcakes Gallery, Milwaukee, WI 
Hungry Brain, Chicago, IL 
Icehouse, Minneapolis, MN 
Il Macello, San Marino 
Judson Gym, NYC 
Kato Ballroom, Mankato, MN 
Kavehaz, NYC 
Kiju, Lodz, Poland 
Knitting Factory, NYC 
L’Arrorsoir, Chalons Sur Saone, France 
La Palma Club, Rome, Italy 
La Passerelle, St. Brieuc, France 
Le Petit Balcon, Paris, France 
MacRostie Art Center, Grand Rapids, MN 
Magasin Général, Tarnac, France 
Mexicains Sans Frontieres, Grand Rapids, MI 
Minneapolis Fringe Festival 
Minnesota Sur Seine Festival 
Outpost, Albuquerque, NM 
Physical Art Center, Brooklyn, NY 
Pine Center for the Arts, Pine City, MN 
Ratchet Series, Cafe Moustache, Chicago, IL 
Record Bar, Kansas City, MO 
Rudyard Kipling, Louisville, KY 
Singo MusicFest, Singo, Sweden 
Sons d’Hiver Festival, Paris, France 
Southern Theater, Minneapolis, MN 
Spark Festival of Electronic Music, Minneapolis, MN 
Splendor, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Spoleto Festival, Charleston, SC 
St. Mark's Church in the Bowery, NYC 
Studio Z, St. Paul, MN 
Sunset/Sunside, Paris, France 
Teatro Materno, Ascona, Switzerland 
The Washington, Bloomington, IA 
Theatre Paul Éluard, Choissy-le-roi, France 
Twin Cities Jazz Festival 
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN 
Zaal 100, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Zeitgeist Gallery, Cambridge, MA 
Zeitgeist Theater, Duluth, MN




Ada Rave  
Anne LaBerge  
Catherine Delaunay  
Chris Bates  
Claire Elizabeth Barratt (dance)  
Claude Tchamitchian  
Daniel Levin  
Daniel Thatcher  
Davu Seru  
Dennis Gonzalez  
deVon Russell Gray  
Didier Petit  
Doan Brian Roessler  
Douglas Ewart  
Elliot Humberto Kavee  
Elsa Birgé  
Emilie Lesbros  
Erik Fratzke  
Federico Ughi  
Gamin Kang  
George Cartwright  
Jacques Thollot  
Jean-Brice Godet  
Jeff Harshbarger  
Jim Larson (poet)  
Joel Bremer  
John Dikeman  
Jorrit Djikstra  
Kaleena Miller (tap dance)  
Kip Jones  
Lara Hanson (live drawing)  
Makoto Sato  
Marc Anderson  
Matt Otto  
Michael Zerang  
Michelle Kinney  
Mirtha Pozzi  
Noah Ophoven-Baldwin  
Pablo Cueco  
Phillip Greenlief  
Richard Broderick (poet)  
Sam Rahberg (poet)  
Stéphane Cattaneo (live drawing)  
Suengmin Cha  
Sylvain Kassap  
Tallissa Mehringer (filmmaker)  
Tatsuya Nakatani  
Ten Thousand Things Theatre  
Tim Kaiser  
Timothée LeNet  
Tiziana Arnaboldi (dance)  
Toma Gouband  
Tony Hymas  
Yedo Gibson