A four-time GRAMMY-nominated 15-piece big band led by multi-GRAMMY®- and Emmy-nominated recording artist John Beasley, which has performed at nearly 60 cities around the world so far. 


MONK’estra Big Band

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MONK’estra Septet

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Monk+MONK’estra, Cinematic Concert

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Music Videos


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Round Midnight

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‘’John Beasley’s bold refashionings of Thelonious Monk once again hit the jackpot. Beasley’s not just breathing new life into Monk’s repertoire – he’s firing up the big band scene.” 

BBC Music Magazine

“Beasley takes Monk’s sturdy tunes on a joyride for MONK’estra.”

New Yorker

“Beasley’s Monk’estra set was a dazzling display of fresh interpretations scaled to take full advantage of his sixteen-piece ensemble. The enlightening set closed with vigorous applause from the house.” 


The feel and sound of MONK’estra captures the spirit of Thelonious Monk’s singular style with its off-beat melodies, humor, strange beauty and unbounded swing in fresh arrangements flavored with hints of New Orleans, hip-hop, Afro-Cuban, contemporary and atmospheric rhythms and colors.

Some of the most mesmerizing big band music of recent memory.”

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Upcoming: Mondavi/UC Davis (CA), African Skye festival (Cape Town), Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society (CA), NYUAD (Abu Dhabi + Dubai), Hanifl Performing Center (Minnesota)

Past Venues and Festivals:

New York: Jazz Standard (2016, 2017), Dizzy’s/Lincoln Center (2018), Birdland (2019), Festival: Kingsborough (NY)

Los Angeles: Walt Disney Concert Hall, Broad Center, SOKA, Blue Whale, Vitello’s, Jazz Bakery: Musicians Institute + New Roads, California Jazz Society, LACMA Summer Series, and Festivals: Playboy Hollywood Bowl, Angel City + Central Avenue

Other US Cities: SFJazz (2013, 2015, 2017 – San Francisco), San Diego Symphony Summer Series, Chicago Symphony Halls, Smith Center (Las Vegas), Carmel Music Ctr + Purdue University (Indiana), Jefferson Center (Roanoke), and Festivals: Monterey, Detroit, Portland

Europe:  Ronnie Scotts (London 2017+2018), and Festivals: North Sea (Rotterdam), Berlin, TM Festival (Romania) Siexal (Lisbon)

Asia/New Zealand:  Blue Note (Tokyo + Beijing), Cotton Club (Tokyo), Festivals: Java Jazz Festival, Pyeong Chang (Seoul), Melbourne Jazz Festival

Conducting big bands:

Moscow Big Band (Triumph Jazz Festival: Moscow/St Petersburg); HR Big Band (Frankfurt, Konservatorium), Brussels Jazz Orchestra: Bozar, de Singel, Jazz in ‘t Park (Belgium), Stockholm’s Blue House Big Band, Knoxville Jazz Orchestra

Big Band Accompaniment:

*Tribute to Quincy Jones, Monk Institute Gala (Kodak)

*Tribute to Kenny Burrell featuring Lee Ritenour, Kamasi Washington, Gretchen Parlato (Ford Theatres)

*Palm Springs Festival with Rene Marie and Tierney Sutton (Annenberg)

Schools/Youth concerts:

New York: Julliard, Rutgers, Manhattan School of Music

Florida: U of South Florida, University of Miami, Frost School of Music

Other: U of North Texas, Cal State LA

Europe: CoDArts (Rotterdam) Conservatory, Maastricht Conservatory (Netherlands), JAM Music Lab (Vienna)

Special Feature: Jazz and the Orchestra (Walt Disney Hall, LA), Jazz Education Network Conference (San Diego), National Youth Orchestra with Sean Jones, Carnegie Hall


MONK’estra plays John Beasley (May 1st, 2020 release)

MONK’estra Vol. 2: two GRAMMY nominations (2018) Best Large Jazz Ensemble and Best Arrangement for “Ugly Beauty/Pannomica”.

MONK’estra Vol. 1: two-GRAMMY nominations (2017) Best Large Jazz Ensemble and Best Arrangement for “Ask Me Now”.

MONK’estra re-imagines Monk’s compositions with an eye to the future with a killer contemporary big band that pays loving tribute to the master’s music while infusing it with contemporary harmonies, unstoppable grooves, and a contagious sense of fun.


Collective of Musicians from East Coast, West Coast and Europe

TRUMPET: Bijon Watson, Brian Lynch, Brian Swartz, Dontae Winslow, Rashawn Ross, Scott Wendholt, Shawn Edmonds, Jamie Hovorka, Brandyn Phillips, Till Broner, Sean Jones

TROMBONE: Frank Lacy, Conrad Herwig, Steve Turre, Ryan Dragon, Lemar Guillary, Francisco Torres, Wendell Kelly, Steve Hughes, James Burton, Ed Neumeister

WOODWINDS: Bob Sheppard, Greg Tardy, Tom Luer, Tommy Peterson, Dave Reikenberg, Adam Kolker, Oliver Santana, Steve Wilson, Danny Janklow, Erena Terakubo, Magnus Lindgren, Joris Roelofs

BASS: Benjamin J. Shepherd, Ben Williams, James Genus, Rickey Minor, Reggie Hamilton, Felipe Cabrera

DRUMS: Terreon Gully, Peter Erskine, Gene Coye, Kendrick Scott, Gary Novak, Tony Austin,

GUEST ARTISTS: Dianne Reeves, Gary Burton, Regina Carter, Gregoire Maret, Kamasi Washington, Pedrito Martinez, Conrad Herwig, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Joey DeFrancisco, Vinnie Colauita, John Patitucci, Hubert Laws

John Beasley