After attending SUNY Albany John worked as house pianist at the Gemini Jazz Cafe for several years leading his own group with guest soloists including Nick Brignola and John Stubblefleld and spent a year working in saxophonist J.R. Monterose’s band.
He moved to New York City in 1980 and met the phenomenal, young saxophonist/pianist/guitarist Arthur Rhames while playing on guitarist Steve Geraci’s Beat City label record date Aliqae Song with John Stubblefield and Rashied Ali. John worked in the Arthur Rhames Quartet for the next five years.
In 1985, John formed Second Sight – a quintet with trumpeter Dave Douglas, saxophonist Jeff Marx, and drummer Jeff Siegel. They recorded Flying With The Comet in 1986, an album of John’s original compositions released on John’s independent label Sunjump Records followed by Tiger Tracks (1987). This five year period marked the beginning of John’s work as a producer and in addition to Second Sight’s music, Sunjump released a Jose Chalas record, Living On Avenue F and Marc Wagnon’s, Shadowlines.
Throughout the eighties John also worked with Carter Jefferson, John Stubblefield, J.R. Monterose, Hugh Brodie, Greg Abate, Nick Brignola, Bobby Johnson Jr, Roswell Rudd, Beaver Harris, and many others.
In 1987 John moved to Woodstock, NY and in 1989 formed the FM Artists Coalition with saxophonist Erica Lindsay and bassist Anthony Cox. The group lasted three years beginning with a series of monthly house concerts, continuing with two years of co-productions with the Woodstock Guild in the Kleinert/James Gallery, culminating in August 1992 in a three day Jazz, Poetry and Visual Arts Festival at the Byrdcliff Barn. John produced 25 concerts for the FM Coalition and the 160 artists presented included Karl Berger, Tim Berne, Cindy Blackman, Baikida Carrol, Dave Douglas Tiny Bell Trio, Marilyn Crispell, Santi DeBriano, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Fiuczinski, Dave Holland, Howard Johnson, Second Sight, and Wadada Leo Smith.
From 1990-92 John played regularly with the Glen Richmond trio at Fat Tuesday NYC, and solo piano at the Village Corner, Bradley’s, NYC and the United Nations.
Beginning in 1993 John began working with the groups of Franklin Kiermyer and Eric Person as pianist and arranger. He recorded four albums with Kiermyer : In The House Of My Fathers (1993 Konnex) with Dave Douglas and John Stubblefield ; the critically acclaimed Solomon’s Daughter (1994 Evidence) with tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and bassist Drew Gress; Kairos (1996 Evidence) with the saxophonists Sam Rivers, Eric Person, Michael Stuart; and Sanctification (1999 Sunship) with saxophonist Michael Stuart and bassist Fima Ephron.
Gigs included Sweet Basil, NYC with Joe Lovano, Eric Person and Drew Gress;
tours of the US including the San Francisco Jazz Festival at Yoshi’s in Oakland, California; the Panasonic Jazz Festival at the Knitting Factory, NYC; Lincoln Center, NYC; a ten concert tour of Canadian Jazz Festivals including Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver.
John also played on four albums with Eric Person’s Meta Four beginning in 1996 with Eric’s More Tales to Tell (Soulnote) with Dave Holland and Gene Jackson.
Gigs included NYC club appearances at the Blue Note, the Knitting Factory, and Visiones; tours of Jazz festivals and clubs including the Montreal Jazz Festival; Fresno CA Billy Higgins Festival; Savannah Jazz Festival; Texaco Jazz Festival, NYC; Newport/Friehoffer Jazz Festival Saratoga Springs, NY; Detroit Ford/Montreux Festival; Newport Jazz Festival, NYC ; and the Bell/Atlantic Festival, NYC. Media performances included broadcast of the Detroit Montreux concert on Branford Marsalis’ Jazz Set on NPR.
John appeared on three more Eric Person CDs: Extra Pressure (2000) ; Live At Big Sur (2003); and Reflections (2006) with Dave Douglas and Kenny Davis. John toured with Eric Person’s Meta Four in performances at the Guimaraes Jazz Festival, Portugal; the Blue Note, NYC; Big Sur Jazz Festival; Blues Alley, Washington, D.C.; Savannah Jazz Festival, GA; Jazz Factory, Louisville, KY; the Brooklyn Academy of Music; dozens of clubs and concerts and workshops at twenty colleges across the US. Featured media performances include a Knitting Factory concert and interview on BET Jazz and webcasts from the Bluenote and the Knitting Factory.
In 2002 John renewed his collaboration with saxophonist Jeff Marx on two CDs: The Great Unknown (Naugual) and Treading Air...Breathing Fire (Soluna). John continued his work with Jeff Marx contributing four compositions to Jeff Marx/Jeff Siegel CD Dreamstuff (2005 Ayler Records) and playing piano and writing compositions for Esposito/Marx/Siegel Inyo (Sunjump 2009).
In 2006 John revitalized Sunjump Records which had been inactive since 1988 releasing John Esposito Down Blue Marlin Road, a deconstruction/reconstruction of some of Jazz’s most over-played standards. The second was a quintet date of nine Esposito originals, The Blue People. He followed this in 2008 with John Esposito A Book Of Five Rings ; Sangeeta Michael Berardi Earthship; and re-released Second Sight Flying With The Comet, on CD with three bonus tracks.
In 2009 John produced three releases: Steve Geraci’s Aliqae Song, an archival recording of that first meeting with Arthur Rhames in 1980; the previously mentioned Inyo; and Mitch Kessler’s Erratica.
During this period John began experimenting with music/video duet improvisations with video artist/photographer Laura Steele, culminating in a concert at University of Chapel Hill, NC. In April 2009 John presented a multi-media concert with Laura Steele at Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY which combined through-composed and freely improvised music for his A Book Of Five Rings ensemble with Steele’s real time video mixing using pre-recorded images and live video feeds projected on four walls. Audience seating was configured in various geometric shapes throughout the space. The septet was divided into three segments placed in different parts of the hall.
John produced two Sunjump Records releases in 2010: flutist Jayna Nelson’s Bloom Of Creation; and Orisha, his second trio CD with nine new originals. 2011 brought the release of Mitch Kessler’s Der Erlkonig. Other recording projects in 2011 include the Esposito/Marx/Siegel trio CD Tahrir (release date March 2012) and the mixing/mastering of Sangeeta Michael Berardi’s Calling Coltrane (release date January 2012).
2013 brought the double CD release The Mr P Sessions by Sangeeta Michael Berardi. Footage of this record date is featured in the film Playing With Parkinson’s by the noted Jazz documentary film maker Burrill Crohn. This documentary film of Berardi’s life’s work as a painter/poet/musician premiered October 26, 2013 at the Woodstock Guild’s Kleinert/James gallery in Woodstock, NY. John also co produced a concert/installation at Second Ward, Hudson, NY with Laura Steele which combined through-composed and freely improvised music for his A Book Of Five Rings octet with Steele’s real time video mixing using pre-recorded images and live video feeds through fourteen monitors with scrolling images projected onto banks of white surfaced windows and walls.
In 2015 Sunjump Records released Bob Murad’s CD The Observer. 2016-2018 John was pianist/composer/producer of 17 of songs for John Esposito Quintet CD Lyra release date 2018 Sunjump Records; he was pianist/composer/producer of 6 songs for Second Sight Tiger Tracks released 2018 Sunjump Records; he worked as producer for Sangeeta Michael Berardi’s CD Music Is Love: The Manhattan Sessions 2018 Sunjump Records; as producer on Sangeeta Michael Berardi’s CD Divine Song 2018 Sunjump Records. He worked as pianist/composer/producer of 8 songs on John Esposito & A Book Of Five Rings CD Vulcan 2018 Sunjump Records.
Guimaraes Jazz Festival, Portugal
Panasonic Jazz Festival NYC
Montreal Jazz Festival, CAN
Quebec Jazz Festival, CAN
Toronto Jazz Festival, CAN
Edmonton Jazz Festival, CAN
Vancouver Jazz Festival, CAN
Fresno CA Billy Higgins Festival
Savannah Jazz Festival, GA
Texaco Jazz Festival, NYC
Newport Jazz Festival, NYC
Bell/Atlantic Jazz Festival, NYC
Newport/Friehoffer Jazz Festival Saratoga Springs, NY
Detroit Ford/Montreux Jazz Festival, MI
San Francisco Jazz Festival,CA
Cleveland Jazz Festival, IL
Big Sur Jazz Festival, CA
The Erie Arts Museum Festival, PA
Woodstock Guild Jazz & Poetry Festival
David Fathead Newman
Bobby Johnson, Jr
Sangeeta Michael Berardi
Rosi Hertlein (&violin)
Mikhail Horowitz (poet)
Janine Pommy Vega (poet)
Marvin Bugalu Smith
Jazz Studio, Nurnberg, Germany
Schauspielhaus, Bergneustadt, Germany
Kulturkreis, Schloss Holte-Stukenbrock, Germany
Jazzclub Topos, Dusseldorf, Germany
Jazzclub Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany
Stockwerk, Graz, Austria
Mobile, Marktoberdorf, AustriaYoshi’s, Oakland, California
The Bottom Of The Hill, San Francisco
Jazz Bakery, Los Angeles, CA
Knitting Factory, NYC
Lincoln Center, NYC
Blue Note, NYC
Fat Tuesday, NYC
Blues Alley, Washington, D.C.
Jazz Bistro, St. Louis, Mo
Baked Potato, LA
Kuumbwa Center, Santa Cruz, CA
Jazz & Blues Company, Carmel, CA
Fuel, San Jose, CA
Blue Room, Kansas City, MO
The Stone, NYC
Fat Cat, NYC
Jazz Gallery, NYC
55 Bar, NYC
Joe's Pub, NYC
7th Avenue South, NYC
The Village Corner, NYC
University Of The Streets, NYC
Jazz Forum, NYC
Greenwich House, NYC
Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT
Jazz Factory, Louisville, KY
Plays and Player's Theater, Philadelphia, PA
The Outpost, Albuquerque, NM
Brooklyn Academy of Music, NYC
St. Louis Forum For Contemporary Art, St. Louis, MO
Erie Art Museum, PA
L’Air Du Temps, Montreal
Pete Miller’s, Chicago, IL
Kleinert James Gallery, Woodstock, NY
Falcon Center, Marlboro, NY
Saugerties Performing Arts Factory, NY
Chancellor’s Hall, Albany, NY
WGXC Studios, Hudson, NY
Kingston Arts Society
FDR Library, Hyde Park, NY
Spencertown Academy, NY
Pickman Hall, Boston, MA
Cobi Narita’s Universal Jazz Coalition at Zeb’s, NYC
The Whisper Dome at the Unitarian Universalist Society, Schenectady, NY.
Second Ward, Hudson, NY
Club Helsinki, Hudson, NY
Columbia University, NY
Barnard College, NY
Hart College, CT
Chicago School for Performing Arts, IL
Rutger's University, NJ
Vassar College, NY
Edinborough College, PA
Marist College, NY
Bard College, NY
University of Missouri, Kansas City, MO
Hutchinson Community College, KS
Bethel College, KS
University of Missouri-Columbia, St. Louis, MO
University of Iowa, IA
Milliken University, Decatur, IL
Northeast Illinois University, Dekalb, IL
Baker University, Baldwin, KS
Emerson College, NY
Princeton University, NJ
West Point Military Academy, NY
SUNY New Paltz
Long Island University, NY
University of Chapel Hill, NC
Pickman Hall, Boston, MA
Columbia Greene-Community College, NY
Longy Institute, Boston, MA
Yoshi's, Oakland, CA
Fulton Hall, University of Chicago