Whether turning heads as a young virtuoso guitarist or composing music for national television, PJ Rasmussen’s brief career has had plenty of highlights: At 31 years old, he has headlined two nationally syndicated TV specials, held a residency at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York, and released two charting albums of original compositions to international acclaim. His film scores have been heard across the world at festivals from Korea to the United Kingdom and the United States.
As a composer, Rasmussen’s output is eclectic, including works for big band, orchestra, rock ensembles, accordion, and even children’s music. A musical chameleon, he can move from Ravel to Ray Charles at the drop of a hat, and anything in between. He has written for television, theater, media, and film.
Rasmussen’s early career began as a hot-shot guitarist determined to bring his love of rock, blues, and folk music to the jazz world. In 2013, he burst onto the scene with “Adventures in Flight”, which became a Jazz Week top-50 album, praised both for it’s “amazing” playing and “scorching compositions.” In 2014, “Another Adventure” followed, featuring GRAMMY-winners Scott Robinson and Lauren Sevian. It quickly became a Jazz Week top-20 album, getting glowing reviews from the US to Hungary and Russia, and landing him on the cover of the March 2014 edition of Hot House Jazz Magazine.
After his second album, Rasmussen formed the 21-piece Boardwalk Jazz Band and began to focus more on composition. From 2015-2018, the band was Rasmussen’s main musical outlet: he sang, played guitar, and was the primary composer. In 2016, they ended a residency at New York’s City Winery by filming An American Christmas and Sounds of Summer, two nationally syndicated broadcasts that are now annual specials.
In 2018 Rasmussen composed his first film score, and in 2019 he completed a commission for the Florida Imperial Symphony. In 2020, he wrote the score for David Greene’s award- winning Elephants and Donkeys, and JW Lee’s The Lily of Paschal Paidon, which appeared in festivals on three continents, eventually winning an award for Best Animated Short.
PJ now lives in Texas, where he works from his home studio, collaborating with musicians across the country while playing and teaching locally.