John Vanore

Instrument: Trumpet | Location: Philadelphia

John Vanore is Philadelphia's greatest big band leader and also its best-kept secret. Whenever the gifted conductor, arranger, composer, and trumpeter presents his big band, it is like a jazz holiday, Stolen Moments─an elegant and unrivaled tribute to one of the great arrangers in jazz history.
—Jerry Gordon, WPRB FM, Princeton

Updated: February 12, 2019

A Woody Herman alumnus, John has a strong place in his heart for the power and energy that is part of being a big band, while his passion for improvising draws him to the intimacy and interplay of the small group.

As a student of Dennis Sandole, composition and the development of a personal soloist identity were and remain the driving force in Vanore’s writing and playing. “Curosity is more than an album title”, Vanore says. “It is my credo!” With that focus it was decided to write for and create a “new” group, based on the concept of the intimacy of a small group with the fire power of a big band, and call this special group, Abstract Truth.

While attending a summer program, directed by Oliver Nelson, John experienced the pivotal moment of his career—making the decision to pursue music. Nelson’s unique identity was inspirational. Then, studies with Dennis Sandole forged and intensified the same type of identity thinking.

After college, John joined the legendary Woody Herman band. Upon returning to the Philadelphia region he became a mainstay in the trumpet sections for performers visiting Philadelphia–Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis, Michel LeGrand, Louis Bellson, and others. During this time he became Director of Music at Widener University. He has also recorded and produced for EMI, Wyndham Hill, Miramax and has received a Gold Record for his work with Atlantic Records.

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“As a soloist, Vanore plays his horn open with a bright searching tone. The writing is complicated enough to sound modern and highly crafted, but remains accessible... rich orchestration throughout.” —Greg Simmons, All About Jazz

“Vanore’s touch with ensemble texture and color, and his sense of narrative timing, recall Gil Evans. The most ambitious Easter Island Suite…is patient and detailed and continuously revelatory, a musical portrait of wonder.” —Thomas Conrad, Stereophile

“The intriguing trumpeter pushes expressive possibilities in the real of big band culture, armed with a progressive attitude, yet also with clear roots in tradition and timeless musical values.” —Josef Woodard, Downbeat

“Stolen Moments named Top 10 of 2017 by critics including Mark Holston, Donald Elfman, and Thomas Conrad (NPR Jazz Critics Poll)” —Jerry John Szwed, Jazz Journalists

“His 14-piece band… doesn’t so much ape Nelson but reimagines him in nine pieces of complex circuitry that moves, grooves, wiggles, and shakes in all the right spots… the great thing about Stolen Moments is the pin-perfect accuracy of Vanore’s vision

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