John Esposito

Pianist Composer

About John

John Esposito is an American pianist/composer/drummer/producer who works on a wide array of creative music projects. His technical skills and the range of his artistic palette extend across the stylistic boundaries of the Stride Piano, Swing, Bebop, Modal and Free Music movements. He has performed and recorded with artists including Nick Brignola, Dave Douglas, Dave Holland, Carter Jefferson, Franklin Kiermyer, Joe Lovano, J.R. Monterose, David “Fathead” Newman, Eric Person, Arthur Rhames, Sam Rivers, Roswell Rudd, Pharaoh Sanders and John Stubblefield.


John is the owner/executive producer of Sunjump Records. He has created music for theater, dance, film, TV commercials, and multimedia performance art. He is a music faculty member and Artist-In-Residence at Bard College and resides in New York State’s Hudson Valley.



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.


2015 - He released Sangeeta Michael Berardi The Mr P Sessions on Sunjump Records; John worked as pianist/composer on Eric Person’s upcoming release on Distinction Records.  He was a guest artist speaker at the Woodstock Film Festival premier of Playing With Parkinson's. Sunjump Records released Bob Murad’s The Observer

2016 -  John was pianist/composer/producer 17 of songs for John Esposito Quintet CD Lyra, released 2018 Sunjump Records;

2017 -  John worked as producer for Sangeeta Michael Berardi’s CD Music Is Love: The Manhattan Sessions, released 2018 Sunjump Records;


2020 - Pianist/composer/producer of 6 songs for Second Sight CD Tiger Tracks, released 2020 Sunjump Records; as producer on Sangeeta Michael Berardi’s CD Divine Song, released 2020 Sunjump Records.

He worked as pianist/composer/producer of 8 songs on John Esposito & A Book Of Five Rings CD Vulcan, upcoming release date 2020 Sunjump Records.






Concerts & Clubs

College Concerts & Workshops

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



Greg Abate

Nick Brignola

Hugh Brodie

Don Byron

George DeLeon

Stacy Dillard

Dan Faulk

James Finn

Carter Jefferson

Mitch Kessler

Erica Lindsay

Joe Lovano

Jeff Marx

J.R. Monterose

Sam Morrison

Jayna Nelson

David Fathead Newman

Eric Person

Esa Pietila

Michael Rabinowitz

Arthur Rhames

Sam Rivers

Pharaoh Sanders

John Stubblefield

Michael Stuart

Steve Wilson

Pete Yellin

Keith Pray



Steve Bernstein

Eddie Bert

Joe Bowie

Dave Braynard

Gerald Brazel

Roy Campbell

Baikida Carrol

Dave Douglas

Chris Gekker

Greg Glassman

Dan Grabois

Graham Haynes

Bobby Johnson, Jr

Howard Johnson

Ryan Kisor

Chris Pasin

John Rojak

Wallace Roney

Roswell Rudd

Matt Schulman

Woody Shaw

Phil Allen

Dylan Canterbury



Red Baliban

Sangeeta Michael Berardi

Mike DeMicco

Dave Fiucinski

Steve Geraci

Gary Hagberg

Stanley Jordan

Kevin McNeal

Tsiji Munoz

Arthur Rhames

Brandon Ross
Steve Raleigh
Ron Petrides



David Arner

Roger Kelloway

Francesca Tanksley



Rick Altman

Mike Benedict



Rosi Hertlein (&violin)

Mikhail Horowitz (poet)

Kendra Shank

Judy Silvano

Janine Pommy Vega (poet)
Stephanie Blythe



Jay Anderson

Adam Armstrong

Harrison Bankhead

Michael Bisio

Danton Boller

Walter Booker

Dwayne Byrno

James Cammack

Malcolm Cecil

Ira Coleman

Anthony Cox

Kenny Davis

Santi Debriano

Fima Ephron

Ken Filiano

Drew Gress

Hilliard Greene

Jerome Harris

Dave Holland

Corcoran Holt

Mark Johnson

John Lindberg

Curtis Lundy

Andy McCloud

Wilbur Morris

Francois Moutin

Lonnie Plaxico

Ed Schuller

Lew Scott

Avery Sharpe
Otto Gardner



Rashied Ali

Thurman Barker

Jason Brown

Ronnie Burrage

Montez Coleman

Quincy Davis

Arti Dixson

Beaver Harris

McClenty Hunter

Gene Jackson

Tony Jefferson

Steve Johns

Mark Johnson

Franklin Kiermyer

Billy Kilson

Adam Nussbaum

Peter O’Brien

Jeff Siegel

Marvin Bugalu Smith

Harvey Sorgen

E.J. Strickland

Tanni Tabbal

Shinosuke Takahashi

Matt Wilson

Bobby Previte

Dennis Macrell

Kevin Bujo Jones

Chuck Zueren



Rosi Hertlein
Gwen Laster
Akun Dixon




Performances With:

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

Bradley’s, 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

Visiones, NYC

55 Bar, NYC

Joe's Pub, NYC

7th Avenue South, NYC

The Village Corner, NYC

University Of The Streets, NYC

Jazz Forum, NYC

Soundscape, 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

Rutgers University

SUNY New Paltz

SUNY Albany

Long Island University, NY

University of Chapel Hill, NC

Pickman Hall, Boston, MA

Columbia Greene-Community College, NY

Longy Institute, Boston, MA

Mobile,Marktoberdorf, Austria

Yoshi's, Oakland, CA

Fulton Hall, University of Chicago


Contact Info


John Esposito



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