Born: May 19, 1964 Primary Instrument: Drums
John Armato has spent most of his life behind the drums. Studying from the time he was eight, in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, Armato focused on music and drums throughout his school years, including his time with the competition-dominating Winnetonka High School music program under legendary music educator Charles T. Menghini. College saw Armato performing with the rhythm sections of well-known vocal jazz educator Kirby Shaw at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
In 1986 Armato performed with the All-American College Band at Disneyland as part of a professional experience for 18 student musicians selected from nationwide auditions.
Those various experiences put Armato in the drummer’s chair for artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Pete Christlieb, Rob McConnell, Les Hooper, Bobby Shew, Gary Foster, and even a double drums feature with Louie Bellson.
Over the ensuing 25 years of professional playing, Armato has worked in studio, musical theater, big band, jazz and society settings with local contractors and acts such as The Ink Spots, The Drifters, The Platters, The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, and The Guy Lombardo Orchestra.
He has played shows such as A Chorus Line, Godspell, and Nunsense and even performed the world premier of Dragons, working directly with composer/director Sheldon Harnick of Fiddler on the Roof fame.
For one football season, Sundays found Armato in the end zone at Arrowhead Stadium as a member of the Kansas City Chief's Pack Band.
Armato was an early member of Kerry Strayer's groups and the Kansas City Boulevard Big Band,as well as an occasional sideman for jazz and tap dance duo, the McFadden Brothers.
He was also a member of the trio behind Lisa Henry, a winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute Vocal Jazz Competition in 1994. That same year he performed with a 40-member show in a tour of Russia.
Armato has recorded demos and albums with a variety of artists and can be heard on the CD Comfort by Lisa Bloecher.
After moving to New York City in 2004, Armato studied briefly with Joe Morello and played with noted tenor saxophonist Bob Kindred, vocalist Anne Phillips, bassist Steve LaSpina, stride pianist Bram Wijnands, and cornet legend Warren Vaché, among others.
Armato relocated to Sacramento, California, in 2008.
In his “day job” Armato is a senior partner at Fleishman-Hillard, one of the world’s largest public relations firms. He also serves on the Board of Trustees at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago.