Emilio Modeste

Emilio Modeste

Emilio Modeste is a young, New York-based tenor saxophonist and was a member of the late Wallace Roney’s Quintet for the final three years of his life.


Born in Virginia, Modeste started very early on the violin, moving to the piano and drums quickly, until he picked up the saxophone at the age of eight and never looked back. Modeste has since shared the bandstand with world-renowned musicians including: Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Buster Williams, Stanley Clarke, Patrice Rushen, Lenny White, Gary Bartz, Steve Turre, Christian McBride, Rene McLean, Antoine Roney, Donald Harrison, and many more.

At the age of eleven, Emilio joined the Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra, which he led on a weekly basis during his high school years. Modeste has travelled alongside the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on the road in the United States.

His most formative years came from his time with Wallace Roney’s Quintet. Modeste was a close friend and mentee of trumpeter Wallace Roney and traveled the world with Roney’s Quintet from 2017 to his passing in March 2020. He has performed throughout Europe, the USA and Canada, China and Mexico with Roney’s Quintet and grew into a sensitive and powerful sideman through his time beside Roney.

Emilio Modeste opened for Jon Batiste at the Celebrate Brooklyn Festival in 2016 with Kojo Roney and can be found performing at respected establishments such as Matthew Garrison’s Shapeshifter Lab, the Jazz Standard, Ginny's Supperclub, Minton's, the Village Vanguard, Smalls, Fat Cat, Zinc Bar, The Blue Note, the Bronx Beer Hall and many other great venues in New York City. Modeste can be seen occasionally as a saxophonist with The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s house band: Jon Batiste and Stay Human.

Modeste appears on Wallace Roney’s final studio album, Blue Dawn - Blue Nights as well as the album Music From and Inspired by The Film Birth Of The Cool.

Modeste plays a Selmer Reference 54 Tenor Saxophone.