Born: October 10 Primary Instrument: Piano
Grammy-nominated recording artist John Beasley’s music career spans three decades. LA Times jazz critic Bill Kohlhaasee describes Beasley’s music and playing as a variety of generational influences, incorporating the emphatic chordal clusters of Herbie Hancock, the rhythmic quirkiness of Monk and the lush intelligence of Art Tatum into a highly refined personal voice.”
His credits cross the spectrum of the entertainment world: performing, recording, and touring with major jazz, pop, and world artists; composing for hit-TV series; arranging for ensembles and orchestras; working on award- winning films and commercials. With the popularity of reality singing TV shows, Beasley has taken the helm as Music Director for major studio shows.
Born in Louisiana, the cradle of jazz, Beasley is a third generation musician. His grandfather was a trombonist for territory bands. His father taught at jazz composition and improvisation and was also a pianist, bassoonist, and composer. Beasley’s mother directed bands and orchestras and was a brass instrumentalist. Beasley became a convenient stand-in for her bands as a trumpet, oboe, drums, saxophone, and flute player. By the time he was in middle school, Beasley was writing arrangements, one for the University of North Texas Jazz Band which caught the attention of Jimmy Lyons, founder of the Monterey Jazz Festival. Lyons recommended teenage Beasley for a scholarship at the Stan Kenton Summer Jazz Camp. The song was then added to The Stan Kenton Orchestra’s repertoire that year.
At 17, Beasley declined an oboe scholarship from Julliard. He took up the musician’s life, playing in clubs before he was of legal drinking age. Soon after, he went on his first world tour with Brazilian artist Sergio Mendes which continued for many years. Jazz icon Freddie Hubbard brought him into his fold for about eight years, while Beasley formed a band Vinnie Colauita, John Patitucci and Steve Taviglione called Audio Mind.
At the young age of 24, Beasley started writing music for Paramount, Disney, and MGM shows, including Cheers, Family Ties, Star Trek, and Fame and the Touchstone TV logo which is still in use today. As a studio musician, he has worked with film composer luminaries such as Thomas Newman, Dave Gruisin, Alan Silvestri, and Carmine Coppola. He became a part of Thomas Newman’s core team playing and programming sounds for James Bond Skyfall, Exotic Marigold Hotel, Finding Nemo, and Wall-E, to name a few. His work in commercials includes award winning work in both the US and Germany.
John Beasley also composes pro-bono for films and podcasts with groups like the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize winning Doctors Without Borders.
MILES DAVIS AND RECORDING CAREER
At 28, Beasley got the phone call of a lifetime from Miles Davis to join his band. Beasley toured worldwide with Miles Davis as a keyboardist. While on tour with Miles, he was inspired to release his debut CD, Cauldron, produced by Walter Becker (Steely Dan). He has gone on to record 11 albums.
John Beasley’s Positootly! album earned a 2011 Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Record. In 2012, he joined forces with two other Miles Davis alumni, Darryl Jones (Rolling Stones bassist) and the signature drummer for Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, Ndugu Chancler to record 3 Brave Souls. This triumvirate, as one reviewer Nick DeRiso wrote, is some “tangy, ass-wiggling funk.”
In 2013, Beasley realized a long-held dream, forming MONK’estra, a 17-piece big band called. MONK’estra captures the spirit of Monk's unique quirkiness, offbeat accents, punchy dissonances, in fresh arrangements. Veteran jazz critic Don Heckman described Beasley’s big band and his talent as “extraordinary orchestrating abilities, imaginative soloing from players: a net result of some of the most mesmerizing big band music of recent memory.”
In 2005, Beasley was enlisted to work on the juggernaut American Idol as Associate Director to Rickey Minor. Beasley coached and rehearsed the 12 female finalists, selecting and arranging songs, and mixing the shows. In the finale, his contestant Carrie Underwood took the title and became a global music star, earning multiple Grammys. Over the next 6 years (2005-2010) he served as American Idol’s Lead Arranger and substituted for Music Director Rickey Minor on the recordings for iTunes releases.
When ABC TV, was seeking a Music Director for their reality show Duets with Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Robin Thicke, and Jennifer Nettles, they handpicked John Beasley. This year, ABC invited Beasley to reprise his role as Music Director for a new show Sing Your Face Off, airing later in 2013.
Awards:2010 Grammy Nominee: Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group "Positootly!" John Beasley (Resonance Records)
The pianist and composer John Beasley has one of the most formidable tasks of anyone associated with today's International Jazz Day, the celebration produced by UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. He's music director of the centerpiece concert to be live-streamed from Istanbul ...That means Beasley put together the lineups from a star-studded international cast, with a set list meant to charm the world. His cast is headed by international superstars Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Eddie Palmieri, Robert Glasper, Ramsey Lewis, Esperanza Spalding, Joss Stone, Anat Cohen, Branford Marsalis, Hugh Masekela, Keiko Matsui, Lee Ritenour, Joe Louis Walker, Ruben Blades and Jean-Luc Ponty. They'll perform with Turkish musicians Husnu Senlendirici, Imer Demirer, Bilal Karaman and many others.... Having served as music director for artists ranging from Queen Latifah to Freddie Hubbard — and worked as MD for the first International Jazz Day concert in 2012 — Beasley seems well-prepared for the job. -NPR Music - A Supreme Blog (Howard Mandel)
Beasley is also a singular pianist who is chirpy and breaks up his dazzling melodic runs with staccato perfunctory harmonic statements that then bend the music in another surprising direction. Thus he is never predictable and always makes a new surprise flow through the tips of his fingers that take the keyboard to task every once and awhile. —Latin Jazz.Net (Raul da Gama)
“Beasley, the one-time keyboardist for Freddie Hubbard and Miles Davis, reflects a variety of generational influences, incorporating the emphatic chordal clusters of Herbie Hancock, the rhythmic quirkiness of Monk and the lush intelligence of Art Tatum into a highly refined personal voice.” —LA Times
CD REVIEWS: 3 Brave Souls: “tangy, ass-wiggling funk...a groove so deep you could fall right in… potent pulse… great, greasy lines by Beasley…a fun romp ...more bite than a simple groove record …tasty stuff that needs to happen more often… contagious and penetrating grooves… honey dew sounds of southern soul… entertaining recipe of pop, world, R&B and soul injected with funk blasts and contemporary jazz class…. a fantastic recording that is simply pure funk…”
“sumptuous potion of distinct, powerful and peerless music created by this superb Trio”
“they collectively stir up a melting pot of jazz-funk, organic grooves, and soulful sounds resonate feverishly through the walls of these eleven songs is uplifted to greater heights by an extraordinary cast of guest performers” — Urban Funk, Urban Music, Something Else!
Positootly! John is truly an amazing pianist, imaginative composer, creative improviser and arranger. And with Positootly he created an album that people will look back as one of the first Jazz classic albums of the 21th century. —JazzTimes
One of the most energetic recordings of the past year. “Positootly!” accurately sums the spirit of this Grammy-nominated disc. —Jazz Police
“This recording is his finest effort, and stands proudly alongside his previous recording, a fine tribute to Herbie Hancock.” —All Music.com 4 ½ stars
“Positootly! is pure art…fasten your seatbelts…Beasley is masterful on keys.” —LaJazz.com
“Positootly!” swings and features Beasley’s lyrical piano playing. Jobim’s “Dindi” is as beautiful as ever and is rendered in a 5/4 tempo that is a testament to Beasley’s arranging skills. —Sounds of Timeless Jazz
Letter To Herbie (Resonance Records) Beasley opted for an all out tribute with an all star cast including Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, Christian McBride and Roy Hargrove. In the true jazz tradition, Beasley has brilliantly interpreted Hancock’s music, transforming ‘4AM’ from its original funk into a swinging uptempo affair and juxtaposing ‘Tell Me A Bedtime Story’ and ‘Maiden Voyage’ into ‘Bedtime Voyage’. Herbie’s reply must surely be ‘You’ve done me proud’. —Drummer UK (Brent Keefe)
Song “Bedtime Voyage” Letter to Herbie (Resonance Records) Clever arrangements. Hancock never wrote a song called Bedtime Voyage, but Beasley does a 'mash-up' of Maiden Voyage and Tell Me A Bedtime Story, two of Herbie's finest compositions. This mash is a real banger, and I would go back for second helpings. Beasley is quite effective, especially as a rhythm section pianist, and has mastered a number of Hancock's signature devices. This is a strong performance and a notch above your typical tribute project. —Jazz.com: 4 stars (Ted Gioia)
A first call pianist/keyboardist has been one of the best kept secrets in jazz. “Letter to Herbie” is an extremely impressive recording that satisfies from end to end. The rhythmn section is two of the most important players in the last 20 years - Christian McBride and Jeff Tain Watts. Beasley, McBride and Watts immediately turn on the pots and get to smokin'! If you purchase this cd, you will get an immediate insight into what's happen in jazz at this moment. —Amazon 5 Solid Stars! (Skip Norris)
AS A LEADER: Positootly!- Resonance Records - GRAMMY NOMINEE: Best Jazz Instrumental Album - "Positootly!" John Beasley (Resonance Records) MUSICIANS: Bennie Maupin Jeff "Tain" Watts James Genus Brian Lynch Munyungo Jackson John Beasley SONG LIST: 1. Caddo Bayou (J. Beasley) 5:04 2. Positootly! (J. Beasley) 4:32 3. Dindi (A.C. Jobim) 5:30 4. Black Thunder (J. Beasley) 6:41 5. Shatita Boom Boom (J. Beasley) 4:58 6. Tanguedia III (A. Piazzolla) 5:29 7. Elle (J. Beasley) 4:53 8. So Tired (B. Timmons) 4:45 9. 8 Winds (J. Beasley) 4:51 10. Hope...Arkansas (J. Beasley) 2:32 COMPOSERS: All compositions by John Beasley, except Dindi (A.C. Jobim), Tanguedia III (A. Piazzolla), So Tired (B. Timmons) PRODUCTION AND OTHER CREDITS: Producers: George Klabin and Joe Donofrio Recorded at: Bennett Studios, Englewood, New Jersey, April 2009 Engineer: Dave Kowalski Mixed by: John Beasley, Pierre Paul and Joe Donofrio at Rising Jazz Stars Studios,Beverly Hills, CA May 2009 Mastering by: Pierre Paul Cover Design: Ricky Schultz & Anthony Polis Cover photo: Julie Dermansky / Graphic Design: Giovanni RodriguezAS A LEADER: Letter to Herbie, A tribute to Herbie Hancock - Resonance Records MUSICIANS: Christian McBride Roy Hargrove Jeff "Tain" Watts Luis Conte Steve Tavagliione Michael O'Neil John Beasley SONG LIST: 1. 4 AM 2. Bedtime Voyage 3. Chan's Song 4. Three Finger Snap 5. Naked Camera 6. Eye of the Hurricane 7. Diana 8. Hear and Now 9. Still Time 10. Vein Melter PRODUCERS/COMPOSERS: All compositions by Herbie Hancock, except Diana (Wayne Shorter), and three Finger Snap (John Beasley), Hear and Now (John Beasley). Executive Producer: George Klabin Co-producers: George Klabin and Joe Donofrio OTHER CREDITS: Engineer: George Klabin and Pierre Paul Album cover image: Aaron Waugh Photo: Tim Sassoon, Sassoon Film One Live Night MUSICIANS: Gary Novak Ralph Moore Dave Carpenter Carlos Del Puerto John Beasley (keyboards, Fender Rhodes, CPU) SONG LIST: 1. Introduction 2. Thorn of a White Rose 3. Galaha 4. Parapheralia 5. You Should Know 6. Altogether Marvelous 7. Less Mister Yes (pt 1) 8. Less Mister Yes (pt 2) COMPOSER/PRODUCER: All music composed by John Beasley except "Thorn of A White Rose" by Jan Hammer and "Parapheralia" by Wayne Shorter. Produced by John Beasley. 2004 Beasley Music Nuances, 15 Solo Piano pieces SONG LIST: 1.Solitaire 2.Deliberation 3.Implication 4.Abbreviation 5.Contemplation 6.Allusion 7.Intimation 8.Meaning 9.Ode 10.Infatuation 11.Hallucination 12.Ritual 13.Intersection 14.Innuendo 15.Promise Composer/Producer/Pianist - John Beasley 2003 EWE Japan/Beasley Music Surfacing, Trio CD MUSICIANS: Vinnie Colauita Robert Hurst John Beasley SONG LIST: 1. Song For Dub 2. Brother Blue 3. Personal Legend 4. If so, then… 5. Elle 6. Reverie 7. Seven Layers 8. Surfacing 9. Midnight Rule Composer/Producer: John Beasley Executive Producer: Charles Moore and John Beasley 2000 EWE Japan/Beasley Music Cauldron MUSICIANS: Peter Erskine John Patitucci Bob Sheppard Darryl Munyungo Jackson Ricky Lawson Rickey Minor Dean Parks Bill Summers Steve Tavaglione John Beasley SONG LIST: 1. Beehave Yourself 2. Sierra 3. Cado Bayou 4. Cauldron 5. Catalina 6. 11:11 7. Run and Hide 8. Zulu King 9. I’m Outta Here COMPOSER/PRODUCER Composer: John Beasley Produced by Walter Becker Executive Producer: Sam Sutherland 1992 Windham Hill Records A Change of Heart Windham Hill MUSICIANS: Terri Lyne Carrington John Patitucci Bob Sheppard Darryl Munyungo Jackson Bill Summers Steve Taviglione Freddie Washington John Beasley SONG LIST: 1. A Change of Heart 2. The Call 3. Fix It 4. Carnal Appetite 5. Frasier St. Lament 6. Steve-O 7. Tess, The Flake 8. Skippy 9. Until Now 10. What Beas Needs COMPOSER/PRODUCER: Composer: John Beasley, except “Skippy” (Thelonius Monk) Produced by Walter Becker Executive Producer: Sam Sutherland 1993 Windham Hill Records 10/10 The Music of Thelonious Monk TDK Japan The Impressionists: Windham Hill Sampler Windham Hill Commotion 2: Sampler of Windham Hill Jazz Windham Hill Mose the Fireman Rabbit Ears (music by John Beasley and Walter Becker, story read by Michael Keaton) AS PRODUCER/COMPOSER/ARRANGER: Chaka Khan Christmas CD Andy Summers Sensual Journey Hubert Laws Earth and Sky Hubert Laws Storm Then The Calm Chie Ayado Shine Chie Ayado Time Chie Ayado Seven Brian Lynch Spheres of Influence John Patitucci Another World Yosvany Terry Metamorphosis Steve Tavaglione Silent Singing Michael White So Far Away Marilyn Scott Innocent of Nothing “El Negro” & Robbie Ameen At The Third World War “El Negro” & Robbie Ameen Third World War II Dwight Tribble & John Beasley upcoming release Hiroshi Imade Pahana Vickie Natale Like No Other AS A KEYBOARD PLAYER OR ARRANGER: Miles Davis Live Around the World Miles Davis Time After Time Al Jarreau Making Spirits Bright Al Jarreau A Smooth Jazz Christmas Dianne Reeves Art & Survival Carly Simon Moonlight Serenade (DVD) Walter Becker 11 Tracks of Whack Kenny Rankin A Song For You Pussycat Dolls Shall We Dance (sdtrk) Heather Hedley Standards Lee Ritenour West Bound Lee Ritenour A Twist of Jobim Lee Ritenour Rit’s House Will Downing/Gerald Albright Pleasures of the Night Jovanoti Io Canto Laura Pausini Safari Michael Franks Blue Pacific Michael Bolton Time, Love & Tenderness Erykah Badu Meet Joe Black (sdtrk) Mya James Bond 007 (video game) Tânia Maria Love Explosion Manhattan Transfer The Offbeat of Avenues Ricky Martin Vuelve Eric Anderson Memory of the Future Tanita Tikaram Lovers in the City Jon Hassell Maarifa Street Glenn Hughes Building the Machine Jimmy Haslip Arc Johnny Lang Long Time Coming Jeff Beal Three Graces John Patitucci Sketchbook John Patitucci Imprint John Patitucci Heart of the Bass John Patitucci Another World John Patitucci Mistrura Fina John Patitucci One More Angel John Patitucci Quiet After the Storm John Patitucci Another World Eric Marienthal Walk Tall:Tribute to Cannonball Adderley Eric Marienthal Easy Street Eric Marienthal Crossroads Tim Weisberg Naked Eyes Tim Weisberg Time Traveler Tim Weisberg Three Decade Journey Hubert Laws My Time Will Come Hubert Laws New Earth Sonata Harvey Mason Ratamacue Harvey Mason With All My Heart Kip Hanrahan Beautiful Scars Melvin Davis Nature’s Serenade Kyle Eastwood Paris Blue Kyle Eastwood Now Warren Hill Love Songs Warren Hill Life Thru Rose Colored Glasses Jeremy Steig Jigsaw The Power of Seven Up-Front Bob Sheppard Tell Tale Signs Tim Weston Providence Jimmy Earl Stratosphere Sal Marquez One for Dewey Freebo End of the Beginning Greg & Bev Smith No Baggage Leslie Drayton Close Pursuit Pat Coil Just Ahead Sofia Shinas Sofia Shinas Sonya Jackson Tigress Steve Tavaglione Blue Tav The Sala Brothers Sala Brothers
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Los Angeles, CA
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Beasley has led music/jazz/piano clinics and workshops worldwide over the past 25 years across the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America, including The Grammy Foundation's camps, The Music School (Utah), ASCAP (I Create Music) Politrius Music School (Guatemala), Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Maastricht Conservatories in Netherlands, to name a few. Private lessons - rates are negotiable Hours - when not on tour
John Beasley is available to conduct master classes and workshops with solo or small ensemble playing.
For arranging, I use SIBELIUS. Files can be sent as Sibelius or PDF.
John Beasley is a Yamaha artist, who uses Native Instruments software, M-Audio hardware, Kurzweil synthesizers, iZotope Ozone plug-in, and Yamihiko piano pickups. Also, endorser for Rhodes and Behringer.