John Montesante's first musical passion is Jazz and he freelanced as a Jazz Trumpet early in his professional career in the late 1960s. As he didn't fit the Trad-Dixie mould of that time, and was always told he was too modern, he diversified across genres - big bands, show & TV orchestras and soul music - in order to remain in employment as a professional artist. He came to national attention in Australia as a singular Jazz musician, composer and arranger in his late 20s, when he returned to tertiary jazz and music studies, including taking master-classes with American jazz greats.
He continued to perform and arrange across genres, started his own bands in 1981 -founding Australia's premier Afro-American Soul outfit, the 13 piece Grand WaZoo in 1981, with the band continuing to perform today. Then, he introduced his 20 piece Big Band, JM's Café Society Orchestra, and in 1990, his modern jazz combo, first called 'Workin' & Steamin' performing a modern take on Bop standards. Some years later, he changed the band name to 'John Montesante Quintet' or 'The JMQ'.
John performs with his Quintet, featuring many of the finest musicians and jazz singers in Australia - and has sustained a weekly Thursday Jazz residency for over 10 years at The Commune Cafe in Melbourne, Australia. He also occasionally freelances as a jazz trumpet soloist with a big sound, and still writes and performs with his legendary soul band.