Primary Instrument: Vocal
Named Male Vocalist of the Year at the 1999 Jazz Report Awards ceremony, John Alcorn released Quiet Night, his first CD of jazz standards, in 2003.
The 2004 National Jazz Awards selection committee acknowledged this work by nominating John for Best Jazz Vocals.
This highly personal project has received virtually unanimous praise from critics and fans -- and introduced John to an international audience for the first time, receiving radio airplay in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, India, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Republic of Belarus, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Wales, as well as Canada and the USA.
Inspired by the discovery of the title song, a tender, reflective piece created by Richard Rodgers and Larry Hart in 1936, Quiet Night is a collection of some of the greatest love songs written by that legendary team. The CD includes classic Rodgers and Hart ballads, such as My Romance and You Are Too Beautiful, as well as swingers like Thou Swell and Falling in Love with Love. One of the highlights of the album is This Can’t Be Love, a duet with Molly Johnson.
The musicians -- distinguished artists in their own right -- are among the first rank of Canada’s most outstanding jazz players, including Richard Whiteman (piano), Steve Wallace (bass), Daniel Barnes (drums) and guest artists Ted Quinlan (guitar) and Michael Stuart (sax). On the closing track, a medley of Nobody’s Heart and My Funny Valentine, John plays piano himself, accompanied by a string quartet arranged and conducted by John MacLeod.
John has been tearing up the Toronto music scene since the mid-1990s with his stylish renditions of jazz standards performed at hundreds of clubs and events around the city. Working in a wide range of formats, ranging from small group settings to the larger string and big band ensembles, John's performances are always soulful and swinging.
Born in Toronto but raised in Trinidad, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and New Hampshire, John first began performing while in high school. After moving back to Toronto, John established himself as a versatile and dynamic performer and he was soon working regularly at some of the city’s best-known clubs and receiving exposure on both local and national media. Among his live performance high points are a series of sold-out appearances at the Royal Ontario Museum and a decade of sensational New Year’s Eve performances at the legendary jazz hot spot Top o’ the Senator. John also has the distinction of being the artist chosen to inaugurate the popular Jazz Vocal Series at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
In 1997, John earned the Dora Mavor Moore Award, as music director and composer for Theresa Tova's Still the Night. His debut CD, Haunted, was released in 1997, to critical acclaim.
John has been a featured performer in several TV movies such as Must Be Santa (CBC 1999), Boss of Bosses (TNT 2000) and Piano Man’s Daughter (CBC 2001).
He coordinated, hosted and performed a series of concerts for the inaugural season of the new Stratford Summer Music Festival (summer of 2001). This exciting run, later broadcast as a two-hour special by CBC Radio Two, featured John exploring the works of the 20th century’s greatest popular composers: Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, and Richard Rodgers.
John Alcorn is the quintessential all-round performer, says leading Toronto talent coordinator and show producer Barbara Hershenhorn, who has booked him for such high-profile events as the Toronto Film Festival, the Genie Awards, the Juno Awards and the Gemini Awards. He is one of the best.