All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » John Colianni

John Colianni 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).

THE QUINTET

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.

LES PAUL

Les Paul offered the piano spot in his group to John in August 2003. Les had not used a pianist in his combo since the 1950s and, in looking for suitable candidates, sought the advice of guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, who recommended John. In Les Paul's recent autobiography, “Les Paul: In His Own Words,” Les writes an appreciative description of John's playing style and musical contributions to the re-vamped Les Paul Quartet. John is also seen and heard on the PBS documentary, “Les Paul: Chasing Sound.”

PIANO INSTRUCTION

Showing keyboard aptitude, a suitable teacher for John was sought by his parents. Local musicians recommended Les Karr, who, in addition to teaching, was well known as an outstanding pianist. Weekly lessons began in the eighth grade, when John was 14. Les Karr himself studied under Teddy Wilson at Juilliard in New York. Les was also the first cousin of pianist Dick Hyman. For John's lessons, Les emphasized technique and introduced studies of the Mathe' System, a method that advances digital dexterity and maximizes the capacity for speedy, high-velocity piano playing. John, noted for fleet “chops,” often cites the important role these exercises play.

Read more

Tags

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.”

Jazziz

“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

Read more

Photos

Albums

Album Johnny Chops by John Colianni

Johnny Chops

Patuxent Music
2008

buy
Double-D Squad

Double-D Squad

John Colianni
Johnny Chops

Watch

Similar

Joe Pass Joe Pass
guitar
Stan Getz Stan Getz
saxophone, tenor
Art Tatum Art Tatum
piano
Lionel Hampton Lionel Hampton
vibraphone
Anita O'Day Anita O'Day
voice / vocals
Idit Shner Idit Shner
saxophone
Bennie Green Bennie Green
trombone
Harry Skoler Harry Skoler
clarinet

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and through our retail affiliations you'll support us in the process.

MUSICSTACK
Rare vinyl LPs and CDs from over 1,000 independent sellers
AMAZON
CDs, Vinyl, Blu-Ray DVDS, Prime membership, Alexa, SONOS and more
HD TRACKS
Specializing in high resolution and CD-quality downloads
CD UNIVERSE
Specializing in music, movies and video games
REVERB
Marketplace for new, used, and vintage instruments and gear

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.