John Heard has worked almost constantly in the jazz world, for over four decades appearing on over 150 albums and working with Benny Carter, Rashan Roland Kirk, Hampton Hawes, Tete Montoliu, Oscar Peterson, Wes Montgomery, Cal Tjader, Willie Bobo, the Gerald Wilson Big Band, Freddie Hubbard, Count Basie, Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt, Milt Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Ahmad Jamal, Kenny Burrell, the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabakin Big Band, the Louis Bellson Big Band, Joe Pass, Herb Ellis, Art Pepper, George Cables, Harold Land, Frank Morgan, Dexter Gordon, Pharaoh Sanders and others.
John is an accomplished jazz bassist and visual artist whose works display a mastery of form and improvisation.
He began playing the bass at the age of fourteen and while still in High School in Pittsburgh at the age of sixteen he began his professional career in a band with Tommy Turrentine on trumpet, Booker Ervin on sax, J.C. Moses on drums and Horace Parlan on piano. During his High School years John was also one of two art students who were chosen to attend special classes at the Carnegie Museum of Art.
John worked in Pittsburgh until he entered the Air Force in 1958 and was sent to Germany where because of his gifts as an artist he was given the title of “Artist, Special Services” a job that consisted mostly of designing posters and signs for special events. He also taught art classes to the officer’s wives where he was able to pick up a little extra money.