John Colianni

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Primary Instrument: Piano

Born: January 7, 1963    

John Colianni

John Colianni grew up in the Washington, D.C. metro area and first heard Jazz on swing-era LP re-issues (Ellington, Goodman, Jimmie Lunceford, Count Basie, Armstrong, etc.) in his parents' home. A performance by Teddy Wilson in Washington attended by John when he was about 12 years old also left a strong impression, as did a Duke Ellington performance (more later).


In 2006, looking for an outlet for his high velocity piano improvisations, John formed the John Colianni Quintet. In July 2007, the group recorded its first CD, Johnny Chops (Patuxent Records), which was released this year....
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Read what the jazz world has to say about John…

“Tremendous piano jazz … a phenomenal show stopper … technical skill, warmth, application and understanding.”

Jazz Journal International (London)

“He has a smooth, light-touch style. He flies easily through intricate right-hand melodic lines, and improvises on them, and roams the bass clef with his left hand, combining basic and offbeat rhythms with rich, melodic chord patterns. His left hand harmonic structures are most impressive.”

San Francisco Examiner

“Consummate piano virtuoso … truly individual voice … unerring sense of sophisticated swing.”

Jazz Times

“Colianni's sound and conception is American to the bone; from New Orleans boogie through to jump blues, stride and Basie swing, he not only knew them all but frequently sounded like he was playing all of them at once.”

The Guardian (England)

“He is the essence of a swinging pianist … a sudden flurry of complex runs can be finished before the listener is fully aware of what is happening.”

The New York Times

“Impeccably disciplined, a limitless cauldron full of ideas … eye-opening intensity … effortless swing - Tatumesque.”

Toronto Star

“The best you'll ever hear.”

Mel Torme

“The essence of a swinging pianist … a sudden flurry of complex runs can be finished before the listener is fully aware of what is happening.”

The New York Times

“Acoustic modernist absorbing the pianism of Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson.”


“A brilliant pianist, composer, arranger with exquisite taste, great technique, charming, witty, he has much to bring to the table” and he's got rhythm. Who could ask for anything more?”

Jimmy Woode, bassist with Duke Ellington

“Just dig it”

Lionel Hampton

“Intriguing, eclectic”


*ENGLISH ARTICLE TRANSLATION FROM GERMAN* Neue Luzerner Zeitung November 11, 2008 By David Koch

Eleven pianists brilliantly open the “Piano Off-Stage.” They all played good, stylish jazz, but one swung above the others.

. . . “Piano Off-Stage””the piano festival in a festival. Eleven pianists . . . took part this year, and as an opener, each artist presented a short sample of his/her ability. . .

A Superb John Colianni . . . In the case of one of the artists, the crowd was appropriately great: John Colianni. This lion of the keyboard from America is the year’s big draw�”a pianist equally at home in the concert hall. Followers of the jazz legends Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum have to be proficient. John Colianni certainly is�”such harmonic and rhythmic finesse, paired with astounding technique. Superb! So equipped, his improvisation in the first teaser appearance through stride and swing was exemplary and nicely cool.”

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