Formed at the Harold Arts Residency in Ohio creating scores for the band in the architectural drafting program AutoCAD.  Titled Motion Maps, these scores guide musicians through spaces and hallways of musical structure. Blueprints dictate the flow and motion of a musical set, opening the performers up to visual and descriptive influences, while leading them through a diverse musical landscape consisting of Ajemian’s orchestrated poems, American folk forms, Native American chants, Canadian sea shanties,  jazz expressive motion and balladry -- all filtered through the creative/improvised process in a unique communication of the moment.


Jason Ajemian & the HighLife "Let Me Get That Digital"

Sundmagi cd


w/ Jacob Wick, Peter Hanson, Owen Stewart-Robertson & Marc Riordan

Jason Ajemian & the HighLife Monsters & Animals

Sundmagi 7"


w/ Jacob Wick, Peter Hanson, Owen Stewart-Robertson & Marc Riordan



Notable Past Performances

Aug 24th HighLife


8550 Chesterhill , OH

A ribbon cutting ceremony for Conrad Frieburg's Woodshed, an Eleven sided stellar observatory at 8550 OHIO 377

Jul 28th HighLife Deagan Music Chicago, IL
Jan 7th HighLife


Kenny's Castaways New York, ny

7:00pm - Jason Ajemian's Highlife  -- 8:15pm - Herculaneum -- -- -9:30pm - Mostly Other People Do The Killing ---10:45pm - Shahzad Ismaily, Ches Smith, Mat Maneri ---12:00am - SIFTER w/ Matt WIlson, Kirk Knuffke, Mary Halvorson --1:15am - Steve Lehman Trio

Aug 27th HiLife

Bernheim Forest CONNECT festival

Sunset Amphitheater at Bernheim Louisville, ky
Aug 22nd HILife empty bottle CHicago

w/ love of everything & summer girl friends

Aug 12th HiLife

Recess Festival Charlotte, NC

Neighborhood Theatre Charlotte , NC

w/ Super Ape & Yardwork

Aug 6th HiLife<3

w/ Hamdingers Sausage Kart

Blue Ridge Swim Club Charlotteville , VA
Apr 23rd HiLife HighLife Jazz Loft Society Cincinnati
Apr 20th HiLife HighLife Circle A Milwaukee, Wi
Oct 18th HiLife HighLife Rotunda Philadelphia , Pa

w/ Marshall Allen

Oct 5th HiLife HighLife Welty Commons Jackson, Ms
Apr 6th HiLife HighLife Columbia Museum of Art Columbia, Sc

Press Quotes


"Jason Ajemian is that rare visionary with the chops and ambition to realize his vision- his newest album lies somewhere between James Chance and James Brown ( just beyond the Mingus city limits).  When I listen to this music, I really feel like I’ve been somewhere. Great stuff.”


- Marc Ribot

"deep-murk funk grooves"

- Nate Chinin, NYTimes


"There's nothing more burtal than a journalist protecting his craft professionalism"

- Larry Kart

"The diagrams, with individual songs contained in sharp-cornered, kite-shaped rooms, should probably never be translated to actual buildings, but in practice, their sounds are perfect shelters from convention."

Peter Marcia, Fader 70


article by Scott Burton for RVA Jazz


LEO: How many groups do you work with? Do you lose track of who’s doing what and when?

JA: I work with the entire population of the world on one level or the other. But with players, I don’t have to keep track — it’s a matter of trust. It’s why I choose to work with professionals. It’s symbiotic.


Jason Ajemian and The Highlife have managed to take traditional jazz instruments out of context to produce something fascinating and truly original on Let Me Get That Digital. They have an acute knowledge of not only when to hold back the fireworks, but also when to launch them, and they will be consistently thrilling because of this.

Click to view the full review...

—Gordon Bruce, Tiny Mix Tapes

The parts are (almost all) related to one another without interruption,
so that even the short fragments are dissolved in being part of a single
scintillating suite that we can define 'cosmic jazzfunk' but only for
lack of more suitable terms. (7 / 8)

Stephen I. Bianchi, Blow Up Magazine